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Why Are Disability Discrimination Cases in the Workplace Rising?

Rangam Aug 1, 2023 7:33:12 AM
A woman in a wheelchair, leaning against a wall, reflects weariness toward the rising workplace disability discrimination

This month, the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), a body which handles disputes filed under employment law in Ireland, released their annual report for 2021. Interestingly, disability was a headliner in this report and featured prominently among its key findings.

Indeed, discrimination cases made to the WRC on the grounds of disability increased three-fold in 2021, accounting for 45% of all complaints submitted under the Equal Status Act and being, by a considerable margin, the most commonly cited grounds for discrimination, the next highest volume of cases being on the grounds of race at 11%.

Meanwhile, under the Employment Equality Acts, just over a third of all complaints were on the grounds of disability, again accounting for the highest volume of cases ahead of race, gender and sexual orientation.

In one sense, this notable uptick can be viewed as a positive as it shows an increasing inclination for employees with disabilities to assert their rights and speak up when they feel they are not adequately accommodated in the workplace.

However, it is also undoubtably a cause for concern that inequalities already felt keenly by the disabled community in the workplace appear to have deepened in the face of the uncertainty and rapid changes to the world of work brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here at we believe there is rarely any malicious intent or active will to discriminate among employers. In fact, more likely than not, these cases are often a culmination of the current state of play in the world of work in Ireland, where businesses often don’t have access to the support and training they need to address knowledge gaps and ensure their colleagues with disabilities are truly included in the workplace.

This is where we can help you!

Whether it’s how to start the conversation around disability-inclusive hiring or how to ensure your colleagues with disabilities have the support they need from colleagues and their working environment to thrive in their roles, we’re here to guide you and your business, no matter where you are in your disability inclusion journey.

At Rangam, we have our leading SourceAbled programme. Through this programme we are proud to offer tailored, strengths-based training sessions on disability in the workplace, helping you and your colleagues level up on your knowledge on all things disability inclusion. We can also collaborate with you and your business to build an inclusive hiring programme, helping you attract, hire and retain Autistic, neurodivergent and disabled talent by cultivating a robust support system where everyone, from manager to new hire, is set up for success.

We will also be hosting a free webinar series in November, with lots of great topic lined up to equip you with the knowledge you need to make your business disability inclusive. Sign up today for any webinars that interest you!

  • 22nd November @10.00am – ‘Neurodiversity in the Workplace – An Introduction'
  • 29th November @10.00am – ‘Creating an Inclusive Hiring Process for Neurodivergent Talent’
  • 6th December @10.00am – ‘Exploring Workplace Adaptations for Neurodivergent Employees’

In the meantime, why not take a look back at our previous webinars, where we cover the topics of steering culture change in your workplace and how to encourage conversations around disclosure of disabilities in your business:

  • ‘Harnessing Neurodivergent Talent to Overcome The Great Resignation’ 
  • ‘What Comes First: Culture Change or Get on and Do?
‘Disclosure: Inclusion or Exclusion?

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