Disabled people fear losing their jobs and hide impairments to stay in work

One in two (53%) disabled people have experienced bullying or harassment at work because of their impairments
 
Over half (58%) of disabled people feel at risk of losing their jobs and one in two (53%) have experienced bullying or harassment at work because of their impairments, according to new research by disability charity Scope.
 
Ahead of the closing of the Government consultation on work, health and disability, the survey of disabled people has highlighted the issues disabled people face in work and the risk they face falling out of work.
 
The Government has made a welcome commitment to halving the disability employment gap. Yet the employment gap between disabled people and the public has remained static at nearly 30 percentage points for the past decade.
 
The research also found that:

  • One in five (21%) go as far as hiding their disability from employers
  • One in eight disabled people (13%) have been overlooked for a promotion
  • One in four (24%) say their current employer is not supportive of their disability.

 
Catherine, 47, from Yorkshire said:
"I've been disabled for five years and a wheelchair user for three. I had been working for my employer for 13 years when my condition began to affect my work.
 
“I fought hard not to let it affect my job and got support through Access to Work in order to keep working. I asked for a very minor adjustment to my workload but was told by my employer that I wasn't fit for work, but if I went on sick leave my job would be at risk.”
 
Mark Atkinson, chief executive at disability charity Scope, said:
 
“There is no reason why someone with an impairment should be discriminated against at work or feel at risk of losing their job– this level of exclusion in the work place is not acceptable.
 
“These figures demonstrate that employers and Government need to be doing much more to support disabled people in the workplace.
 
“Disabled people are pushing hard to get jobs and progress in their careers but the labour market is stacked against them.
 
“It’s clear that support for disabled people both in and out of work place need to radically improve.
 
“If the government is serious about halving the disability employment gap it must set out reforms which not only lead to a change in employer attitudes but also offer disabled people better access to in work support.”
 
In October 2016, the government launched its Green Paper on work, health and employment. Scope wants to see this consultation lead to a significant change in attitudes and expectations, with employers taking a proactive approach to ensuring workplaces inclusive and flexible and disabled candidates and employees are treated fairly.
 
Ends
 
For further information or interview requests, please contact the Scope Press Office on 020 7619 7200 or email pressoffice@scope.org.uk

Notes to editors

Research carried out by Opinium Research between 20 and 28 December 2016 surveyed 501 disabled UK adults. Of those surveyed 216 were working aged disabled people in work. The results reflect the experience of this group. The sample has been weighted to reflect a representative audience.
 
Additional information
 
There are 12.9 million disabled people in Britain.
 
The government’s Improving Lives green paper on work, health and disability closes on the 17 February 2017. It is the first step that should lead to legislation that overhauls how we support disabled people into work, and back them once they are in work.
 
Additional evidence

  • Scope polled 1,009 disabled adults in the UK during August 2016. Respondents were asked if employer attitudes to disabled people have improved since the London 2012 Paralympic Games in 2012. 85% said that employer attitudes haven’t changed in the last four years. 

http://www.scope.org.uk/press-releases/more-disabled-people-in-work

  • The Office for National Statistics Labour Force Survey  figures for the period June to September, 2016 and the five quarter Longitudinal Labour Force Survey from March 2015 to June 2016. Scope analysis reveals that:
  • The employment rate for non-disabled people has increased by 0.4 percentage points since this time last year. 
  • The disability employment gap is 32.2 percentage points. 
  • In work disabled people are more than twice as likely to fall out of work than non-disabled people (10.1% of employed DP fall out of work compared to 3.8% of non-DP).
  • 1.7m working age disabled people not in work for over 5 yrs (48% of all who are out of work).

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