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jobsSMALLONE IN FIVE employees with a disability feel they are unsupported and discriminated against in the workplace, according to employment law experts Leigh Day.

Their new survey – ‘Purple Workforce’ – also found that half of the people questioned admitted they would not feel comfortable disclosing a disability when applying for a new job.

Three-quarters of those questioned gave their reason for being reluctant to reveal details of their disability as fear of discrimination rather than personal factors such as embarrassment.

Of those with a disability and in employment, one in six said they do not feel supported by colleagues, while one in four felt senior management or their employer didn’t support them.

The survey also revealed that less than half had asked for adjustments to accommodate their disability as they did not want to draw attention to themselves. Of those who did make a request almost one third said they received little or no help following their request.

The findings of the report describe a disabled workforce where prejudice is resulting in a high cost to society due to wasted talent, lower tax revenues and higher welfare costs.

According to lawyers at Leigh Day, it highlights that, despite progress in legislation and social attitudes, discrimination is still stopping disabled people from participating fully in the workforce, which has a negative impact for individuals and society as their potential contribution is wasted.

Emma Satyamurti, employment and discrimination law expert at Leigh Day, said: “The findings of this report ultimately suggest that there is still significant discrimination in the workplace. We will be holding a roundtable discussion in the spring to bring key individuals in the field of employment and disability together, to start to form a plan of action in time for a new Government.”

Anna Bird, group head of policy, research and public affairs at disability charity Scope, said: “Disabled people are pushing hard to find jobs and get on at work, but they continue to face huge barriers.

“We know that the attitudes of employers are absolutely crucial in ensuring that disabled employees succeed and progress in the workplace. Yet all too often, disabled people tell us that they face negative attitudes at interview, or when in their role.

“Many disabled people are also falling out of work, when simple adjustments could be made by workplaces to enable them to stay in work and progress in their careers.”

There are over 6.9 million people with disabilities of working age in Great Britain, nearly a fifth of the total working-age population, yet less than half (46.5%) are employed in comparison to 76.4% of people who do not have a disability.