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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-07198: Liam McArthur (Orkney Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 14 February 2017

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the survey of disabled people in the UK by the charity Scope, which suggested that (a) 53% have been bullied or harassed at work, (b) 21% have tried to hide their disability from their employers and (c) 58% felt at risk of losing their job due to their disability.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 2 March 2017

The Scottish Government is concerned about these findings. We believe in promoting opportunities and fair treatment for everyone in workplace, irrespective of personal and demographic characteristics.

We know that bullying and harassment in the workplace damages employers as well as workers. CIPD estimate its cost to UK employers as upward of £2 billion per year through 'sickness absence, staff turnover, reduced productivity for the victims and their colleagues as well as the cost of potential litigation'. And for the individual, the cost typically includes absence from work but may also include poorer mental health, particularly for workers who feel unable to defend themselves from the bullying behaviour.

This is why in A Fairer Scotland for Disabled People we describe a Scotland where we want equal opportunities for disabled people in education and employment. And improved awareness and understanding of discrimination, prejudice and barriers faced by disabled people including the physical environment, stigma and negative attitudes.