Hope all is well – so sorry it’s been a while since my last post! Things have been pretty busy but I’ve also been trying to research quality content so that I’m not talking about the same things twice to you all! 🙂
This blog means the world to me and so does all of your support, so of course I will continue writing until I literally run out of things to write about (let’s hope never!)
As a little update to you all:
I have been lucky enough to receive a scheme called Motability here in the UK so I finally have the opportunity to drive an adapted vehicle! This has been such a long time coming as one of my dreams since a little girl has been to be able to drive just like everybody else.
That’s why updates have been slow, so please forgive me! And if any of you see me on the roads, don’t be shy to say hi! Haha 🙂
Anyway, today’s topic is something I do feel very strongly about which is Disabled Workplace Discrimination.
I will also touch on discrimination in schools – as I know many readers may not have had the opportunity to work yet.
What is Disabled Workplace Discrimination?
Disabled workplace discrimination is discriminating against someone in a workplace purely because of their disability.
This can be things like not letting the disabled person have the same opportunities as everybody else in the workplace just because they are disabled; or not having an accessible workplace.
I am choosing to write about this topic because it breaks my heart to see workplace discrimination against disabled people like myself, it’s shocking to believe that it occurs but the statistics prove it’s much closer to home than we all think.
Here are some useful pointers from the helpful website: ACAS ORG
Is when someone is treated differently and not as well as other people because of disability. For example, an employer does not employ a disabled person just because it does not want disabled people in its workforce.
It breaks down into three different sorts of treating someone ‘less favourably’ because of:
1)Their own disability (ordinary direct discrimination)
2)A perceived disability (direct discrimination by perception)
3)Their association with someone who is disabled (direct discrimination by association).
Can occur where a workplace rule, practice or procedure is applied to all employees, but disadvantages those who are disabled. A disabled employee or job applicant claiming indirect discrimination must show how they have been personally disadvantaged, as well as how the discrimination has or would disadvantage other disabled employees or job candidates.
In some limited circumstances, indirect discrimination may be justified if it is necessary for the business to work. For example, an employer may reject an applicant with a back problem severe back problem where heavy manual lifting is an essential part of the job.
So.. there are two main types of discrimination against disabled people in the workplace, but what are the statistics? According to these UK statistics from GOV UK – disabled people are actually less likely to be employed in the first place! Look at this:
Disabled people remain significantly less likely to be in employment than non-disabled people. In 2012, 46.3% of working-age disabled people are in employment compared to 76.4% of working-age non-disabled people. There is therefore a 30.1 percentage point gap between disabled and non-disabled people, representing over 2 million people.
And what about the statistics of discrimination at work? Again, from GOV UK
Disabled people are significantly more likely to experience unfair treatment at work than non-disabled people. In 2008, 19% of disabled people experienced unfair treatment at work compared to 13% of non-disabled people.
The statistics are horrifying, and we have to keep reaching out to businesses to ensure that they are treating all workers fairly!
The question is always “What can we do to help?” but in theses many cases I think the best message that I can send to fellow disabled people that happen to be experiencing discrimination is to fight back!
Please, report all discrimination to your local police force and keep logs of everything.. it is a crime to discriminate especially in a place of work, you are definitely not alone and the only way things can change is if we all come together to fight against this discrimination.
As for schools/education:
Personally, I have never experienced discrimination throughout my education history but what I did experience was a huge lack of ignorance from some teachers and peers.
As I have said sometimes before – I never felt fully comfortable joining in with sports activities and I did have some teachers really try to force me to join in, some even saying “I’ve taught amputees before, you’re just being lazy” which really did nothing for my already low self esteem.
On a whole my schools did try their best to include me and NOT discriminate, as most of you know I was born with only 8 fingers, and it’s common for children to learn to count to 10 on their fingers.. I had teachers put gloves on my hands so that I could follow the lesson which I look back and think was incredibly sweet!
I also wasn’t able to sit on the floor with the rest of my class for things like story time or assemblies, so I’d get to sit on a chair with a rest for my prosthetic leg (which at the time didn’t bend, just stuck straight out) again, I look back and think how lovely this was of my teachers.
I think that all teachers and tutors in education should have some experience with disabled students before they are thrown straight in to teaching, this way they will have vital first hand knowledge of the complications but also the heartwarming rewards that come with working with disabled students – the main message I’d send out to any teacher working with disabled students, or even students in general is please know every two disabled people are not the same! We all have different personalities and are not defined by our disabilities.