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People with disability 'more likely to experience workplace discrimination'

A new study shows only 36 per cent of people with disabilities are active in the labour market, less than half the rate for others.

Image: Wheelchair photo via Shutterstock

PEOPLE WITH A disability are less than half as likely to be active in the labour market and are more likely to experience workplace discrimination, according to a new report published this morning.

The ESRI/Equality Authority report shows that only 36 per cent of people with a disability are active in the labour force, less than half the equivalent rate for other adults (77 per cent).

Meanwhile, those who are active within the labour force and seeking work also have a higher rate of unemployment – 22 per cent, compared to 16 per cent for other adults.

The authors said the employment rate of people with disabilities within Ireland was low when compared to European averages, and that people with disabilities were significantly more likely to have experienced discrimination in the workplace.

This has become less prevalent in recent years, however, with a significant fall in the number of people with disabilities who reported being the victims of discrimination.

In 2004, 26 per cent of people with disabilities said they had been discriminated against; in 2010 that number had fallen to 19 per cent.

The new report combines data from the CSO’s national household survey with information on the labour force status of a number of individuals.

The report also found that those with physical, emotional or psychological disabilities were less likely to be active in the labour market than those with other types of disability.

Meanwhile, as of 2010, those with a learning or intellectual disability are more likely to have experienced work-related discrimination than those with a physical disability.

Positively, the number of people with disabilities who had experienced discrimination – either in relation to looking for work, or gaining access to services likes shops and pubs – fell between 2004 and 2010.

However, the number of people who had experienced discrimination in looking for work remained at 10 per cent, while service-related discrimination stood at 15 per cent.

Read: Immigrants “do not fare as well as Irish nationals” in labour market

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Gavan Reilly

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