Disabled workers 'receive insults'

Wheelchair spaceDisabled workers are significantly more likely to be insulted ridiculed or intimidated at work than their non-disabled colleagues, researchers said.

People with physical or psychological disabilities, or long-term illness, are more likely to be given impossible deadlines, gossiped about or teased at work, according to researchers from Cardiff and Plymouth universities.

Researchers questioned around 4,000 people, 284 of them with a disability or long-term illness.

The study, published in the journal Work, Employment and Society, found that one in 10 people who suffered from a disability or a long-term illness said they had suffered physical violence at work, compared with 4.5% other workers.

And 12% said they had been humiliated or ridiculed at work, compared with 7% of people without disabilities or long-term illness.

Around a quarter of people with long-term illnesses or disabilities said they had been insulted at work, compared with 14.3% of people without disabilities or illness.

"Workers with disabilities were far more likely to be ill-treated at work and experienced a broader range of ill-treatment," the authors wrote.

"Any one of these forms of ill-treatment could have an adverse effect on their productivity and, in turn, shore up assumptions about the lack of productive worth of people with disabilities.

"The efforts employees with disabilities make to escape ill-treatment may also exacerbate their marginalisation in less productive, and less well paid jobs, or even lead to their withdrawal from the labour market altogether."
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