Four in 10 disabled workers have experienced discrimination or prejudice at work, a major study published today (Tuesday) has revealed.
The report by the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability also found that one in five respondents (18%) in employment believed they had been passed over for promotion because of their impairment.
However, the report did find that only half as many 18- to 24-year-olds (24%) as 45- to 54-year-olds (51%) have experienced workplace discrimination or prejudice.
More than 1,000 disabled people were quizzed as part of an in-depth examination of life for disabled people in the UK today.
The study probed into everything from voting habits to experiences in the classroom and GP surgeries. Official figures show there are seven million people of working age in the UK with a long-term disability.
The report also revealed that a fifth believed they were over-qualified for their job, and one in 10 respondents who needed a workplace adjustment to do their job said they had to pay for it themselves.
John Knight, Leonard Cheshire Disability’s head of policy and campaigns, said: “The levels of prejudice and discrimination in the workplace reported in our survey are shockingly high.
“Findings suggest that this is getting better for younger people. But our survey provides a clear indication that disabled people can still face many barriers in the workplace.
“If the government really wants to support disabled people back to work then tackling discrimination and removing barriers to work must be a top priority.”
The report follows research by the Employers Forum on Disability that warned of a “diversity distraction” when employers approached the concept of diversity, rather than concentrating on becoming ‘disability confident’.