inclusive workplaces

Workplace discrimination

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What does workplace discrimination look like?

As of December 2020, 20-21% of adults in the UK reported having a disability (14 million people). Leeds university estimates that approximately 70% of these disabilities are invisible. Discrimination against people with disabilities is illegal under the Equality Act 2010 this covers people with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and mental health conditions. And this number only reflects the people who are diagnosed or have disclosed their disability. The number is likely far higher. 

Source: Poverty and Discrimination and Diversity in Companies 

The sad reality is that workplace discrimination can start from the moment they hand in their CV because they are twice as likely not to get employed over a non-disabled person –  

Today’s topic being discrimination (against a disability whether that is a hidden disability or physically) placed in the working environment. There are so many different types of workplace discrimination and sadly, some of them don’t come straight to our mind and make us realise we are being discriminated against, so I hope this blog gives you all the information you may need.  

  • Race 
  • Gender
  • Identity  
  • Religion  
  • Sexual Orientation  
  • Disability  

The Many Types of Disability discrimination

At PDC our main focus would be based off of the following categories of disability discrimination:

  1. Direct discrimination 
  1. Discrimination arising from disability  
  1. Indirect discrimination  
  1. Harassment  
  1. Victimisation 
  1. Failing to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments in the workplace. 

More detail on Disability Discrimination

Let’s dive into detail, shall we?

First up in the spotlight is direct discrimination, this is when you could potentially be treated worse than other employees because of a connection or an association with another person who has a disability even if you do not have one (again this applies for hidden disabilities as we as physical) Another form of direct discrimination, yes there are 2 forms, is by perception. What this means is that you can also be directly discriminated against as someone either in the workplace or the organisation if they think or believe you have a disability when you do not.   

This is just one type of discrimination as you know, regarding disability discrimination in the workplace, discrimination arising from the disability itself acts as a protector for to so you do not get mistreated due to a connection of your disability. For example, an assistance dog or needing time off of work for doctor’s appointments/hospital appointments. This doesn’t apply unless the person who discriminated against you knew you had a disability or they should have known.  

Another form of discrimination is when the company fail to make reasonable adjustments to help you/ support you in the work place regarding your disability. Under the equality act 2010. Employers and organisations have a duty/ responsibility to make sure that disabled people can access jobs, education and servicesin the same way as those who do not have a disability. What is reasonable in the work place is based on numerous factors, including the resources available to the organisations/companies making the adjustment. 

Harassment is one that is more commonly known, sometimes people will recognise the phrase which can occur when another person treats you in a way that can make you feel a mixture of emotions (humiliated, offended, degraded). Is someone daily, consistently swearing at you and / or poking fun at your disability or because of it? That is an example of harassment, which can never be justified or excused. Unfortunately, there is a twist if you claim harassment, if an organisation or an employer can prove that they did everything to prevent the people who work for them behaving in such a disgraceful manner, you cannot claim harassment but you can make a claim against the person/people who did this.  

More Types of Disability Discrimination Explained…

It is crazy to think that there are so many different subcategories and factors in the different discriminations let alone the disability discrimination by itself. So, getting back to victimisation, have you ever heard the phrase ‘stop playing the victim’? Victimisation is when you have already made a complaint about discrimination and now, the person/s or organisation are discriminating you due to the complaint and not the original ‘reason’ why they discriminated you hence my original statement ‘stop playing the victim’ which relates to the organisation/ person acting out on discriminating.  

Indirect Discrimination – which Is the complete opposite of direct discrimination that I mentioned earlier. This occurs when a company has a particular policy of work that has a worser impact on disabled people compared to those who do not obtain a disability. Indirect discrimination against disabilities is unlawful unless the organisation shows that there is a good justifiable reason for the policy and that it is proportionate also known as objective justification.  

What can you do about it? 

If you are facing discrimination yourself at work or you can witness it occurring to someone else, report it to your employer, let them know what’s going on.  

Keep a log of the events – you can use our form to help with this!  

Make sure you know your company’s complaint policy and make a grievance as soon as issues occur 

Then raise a grievance using your employer’s grievance procedures, if nothing after that, then make a claim with the employment tribunal.  

In 2017, it was reported that 37% of disabled people alongside 34% of non-disabled people felt there was a lot of prejudice against those with disabilities. It is known that the tribunal can award up to £46,600 but also between that and £27,400 in high serious cases of discrimination, where it has gone on for too long or is too severe.  

What to do if you are suffering from workplace discrimination ?

You can take book an initial FREE CONSULTATION here – we will help you as best we can on this initial discussion and provide you with additional details on what your first steps should be to oversome and resolve the situation.

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