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Disabled workers 'face more discrimination and bullying than colleagues'

Disabled workers 'face more discrimination and bullying than colleagues'

Disabled professionals are significantly more likely than their able-bodied colleagues to be a victim of discrimination or bullying in their workplace.

That is according to a new study carried out by researchers at Cardiff and Plymouth universities, which has found that employees with physical or psychological issues or long-term illnesses suffered higher rates of 21 different types of poor treatment than their co-workers.

The survey - which involved questioning 3,979 people, 284 of whom were disabled - was published in the Work, Employment and Society journal and established that colleagues and managers are often guilty of insulting, intimidating and ridiculing disabled individuals.

Some 12.3 per cent and 24.3 per cent of disabled employees said they had been humiliated and insulted at work - significantly higher figures than the 7.4 per cent and 14.3 per cent of able-bodied workers who said the same.

Meanwhile, 10.5 per cent of disabled respondents noted they had even suffered physical violence at work - more than double the 4.5 per cent of people without disabilities or long-term illnesses.

In addition, 7.4 per cent of these individuals stated they had been injured at work due to aggression, while just 3.5 per cent of able-bodied respondents said the same.

Also, significantly more disabled respondents have been shouted at while doing their job (a ratio of 34.5 per cent compared to 23.1 per cent).

Around half (45%) of these instances suffered by disabled people were due to the actions of their boss, while 18% were attributed to colleagues.

Professor Ralph Fevre of the Cardiff School of Social Sciences and lead author of the study said this report should alter perceptions about disability in the workplace.

"Up to now, researchers have generally assumed that ill-treatment in the workplace was causing disabilities and health problems. Our work suggests ill-treatment happens to employees who already have disabilities or health problems," he noted.

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Posted by Francesca Witney