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Public attitude towards disability improving

The study found that the number of people called names on account of their disability had dropped from 38 per cent in 1994 to 17 per cent in 2014, whilst the number who had been stared at had also roughly halved from 59 per cent to 30 per cent.A significant reason for the improvement is the changes in legislation that have occurred, such as the Disability Discrimination Act, and the Equality Act 2010, which protects people from discrimination in the workplace and wider society. However, workplace discrimination on the grounds of disability continues, albeit at a lower level than 20 years ago. Scope’s survey also found that around two-fifths of disabled people felt that they had missed out on a job “every time” or “a lot of the time” due to their disability. Discrimination on the grounds of disability – or any other protected characteristic – extends to association with other people. It is therefore illegal for an employer to refuse to employ someone on the grounds that they have a disabled child, for example. Many employers are still unclear on the law, and discrimination cases are regularly brought to court by those who feel they have been passed over due to their disability.Scope’s chief executive, Richard Hawkes, commented that the Paralympic games in 2012 had also been a great step forward in terms of changing public attitudes. “Over the last 20 years there have definitely been a lot of positive changes. There has been a lot of attitudinal change, legislation that’s been incredibly positive, but at the same time we know we have got further to go. Some of the experiences people have today shouldn’t be happening.”Do you have an issue arising from discrimination in the workplace? Talk to us. We are experienced employment law specialists and can give you the expert guidance you need. call 01302 320621 or email

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