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Two-thirds of workplace adjustments 'turned down'

19 November 2019

A third of disabled workers feel their employers do not support them, half said they faced barriers which could be removed with adjustments, and two-thirds have had some or all of their requests for reasonable adjustments to help them do their jobs turned down. Those are the damning findings of a new report shedding light on life in the workplace for disabled people.

The report, Let's Be Reasonable: Disability Equality in the Workplace, which collated responses from over 3,000 UNISON trade union members, also found that a quarter had to wait over a year for their reasonable adjustments, two-thirds didn't know that they could ask for paid disability leave (which is distinct from paid sick leave) and only 8% had been allowed disability leave as a reasonable adjustment.

Two-thirds felt pressured to work even if they were sick and that sickness was related to their disability. A third felt they had been unfairly treated because of their disability-related sickness record, and of those, half were subjected to a capability process and a third were subjected to disciplinary proceedings. The report found that disabled workers often face potential job loss as a result of unnecessary sickness absence, capability and disciplinary proceedings.

A quarter felt they did not have equal access to training, and a third felt they were passed over for promotion.

Speaking at the launch of the report as part of Disability History Month, DR UK's Michael Paul said: "Employers need to be empowered to hold what are perceived to be the ‘difficult’ conversations around disability and adjustments."