Disability discrimination still rife – PMI Health Group

PMI Health Group director Mike Blake
PMI Health Group director Mike Blake

More than a third of UK workers believe disability is still a barrier to career progression, despite anti-discrimination legislation, according to research commissioned by PMI Health Group, part of Willis Towers Watson.

The research found 37 per cent of workers think disability is an impediment to career progress, while 17 per cent of those who have disabilities or who work alongside those who have disabilities claim employers fail to make adequate provisions to accommodate their or their colleague’s disabilities.

The Work and Pensions Select Committee is currently running an inquiry into the ‘disability employment gap’ – the difference in employment rates between disabled and non-disabled people – which stands at 33 per cent. The Government has set a target of halving the disability employment gap.

PMI Health Group director Mike Blake says: “Companies have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments, where necessary, to ensure employees with disabilities are not disadvantaged in the workplace. In light of these findings, it would be advisable for businesses to ensure they are not falling foul of this legislation. Deploying pre-placement questionnaires that are reviewed by an occupational health professional gives employers the information they need to make reasonable adjustments from the outset. Physical assessments can be carried out by occupational health physicians if more detailed information is required

“Health and wellbeing initiatives, including the services available through group income protection and Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs), can help in establishing a more disability-friendly workplace so companies can attract and retain skilled staff from this important demographic.

“Health and wellbeing initiatives that facilitate early medical intervention for mental and physical conditions can play an important role in establishing a more disability-friendly workplace and reducing incidents of long-term sickness absence.”