Disabled need stronger laws at work, survey shows

WEAK employment rights legislation is being exploited to discriminate against people with disabilities, according to a report by the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux.

Complaints from sacked and unhappy staff form an increasing proportion of the workload of CABs. They have risen by 31 per cent in the last five years.

Problems facing the disabled include failure to protect them against bullying by other staff and refusal to allow time off for medical needs.

One employer in Warwickshire withdrew permission for a diabetic to undertake her blood tests at work after a change in company management. A deaf employee in Wiltshire had sawdust and glue put in his food and was attacked and injured with a nail gun.

The report, published last week, says that discrimination against other segments of the population - women, ethnic minorities, gay men and lesbians - is also increasing because employment protection is inadequate. It says the failure of employers to regulate themselves effectively means tougher laws are required.

'The climate of job insecurity and erosion of employment rights in recent years has led to an enormous increase in the level of harassment and discrimination at work,' said Ann Abraham, chief executive of the association. 'CAB evidence shows that a fundamental review of the Government's approach to tackling discrimination is required. Appeals to the enlightened self-interest of employers, while important, have had only a limited impact. The growing scale of the problem now makes it essential to strengthen existing anti-discrimination legislation and to introduce specific protection for disabled people, for whom existing laws are not only inadequate but sometimes positively detrimental.'

The association is calling on MPs to support a private members' Bill, which has its second reading on Friday, sponsored by Dr Roger Berry, MP. The Bill would make it illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities, imitating legislation successfully introduced in the United States and elsewhere.

'Most employers I have discussed this with welcome initiatives to eliminate discrimination against disabled people,' said Dr Berry. 'The issue is, who bears the cost of improving access for people with disabilities? Naturally, employers are concerned at any costs that could fall on their establishments.' A new pounds 14.6m government programme announced last week goes a long way towards meeting those costs. Under 'Access to Work', the Department of Employment will cover the full costs of building and equipment adaptations up to a ceiling of pounds 21,000 for each person. It will also pay for support workers to provide transport and communication for the blind and deaf.

Draft proposals suggested that the Government and employers met the costs equally and pressure groups have welcomed the change. The scheme replaces several programmes but includes pounds 3.5m of new money.

Independent research has proved that disabled people are not getting a fair chance to gain employment. The Office of Population, Censuses and Surveys found that disabled people were more than twice as likely to be unemployed, and earned much less than average if they were in work.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam