disability and discrimination

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According to figures, there are nearly 650 million disabled people worldwide, with a record of 9 million in the United Kingdom alone. Discrimination is characterized as offering or handling an individual unfavorably because of personal characteristics covered by the statute. This may be called harassing a person because of a protected trait. Notably, the Equal Opportunity Act of 2010 protects people from abuse and prejudice in public spaces such as shops, bars, colleges, offices, or service regions. According to the act, it is contrary to the law for a person to discriminate against the other due to a personal characteristic that one has, or a person assumes the other has. The personal characteristics are things such as physical features, political beliefs, disability, race, and age. Nevertheless, for the purpose of this discussion, more emphasize will be put towards the reason disability discrimination. Correspondingly, this is when an individual with a disability is treated unfavorably than one without a disability in similar circumstances. While different regulations have been implemented to protect people against disability discrimination, these policies do not work.


Supporting employment of individuals with a disability has been a crucial policy goal in the U.S. Examples of Federal guiding principles whose objective is to promote vocation for disabled populace are the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Ticket to Work Program, the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, and the Work Opportunity Tax Credit (Roemer 2009). Most of these courses of actions are fairly new, yet analysts have distinguished a turn down in the rates of service of individuals with a disability in topical years. Moreover, some assessments of ADA illustrate that instead of promoting vocation, the Act might have minimized it for the disabled. The shocking establishments have resulted in some observers taking a closer observation at the statistics for jobs for such people. Possibly, they argue, it is not that the statistics are misleading as well as inappropriate but that the policies put in place to try to curb disability discrimination at work and employment do not work.

Employment Status

Descriptions of work alongside other personnel states tag along those utilized for CPS, a journal review of about 60,000 families, which is employed in developing the Nation’s representative data of employment (Cruft 2005). According to the CPS, work is described as people 16 years and above in the national non-constitutional populace who during the allusion week, (1) carried out some task at all as paid workers; worked in their business farm, or profession, or worked 15 hours or above as voluntary employees in a company run by a family associate.; and (2) all the people that were not working but had businesses or jobs from which they were provisionally absent due to inclement weather, illness, vacation, paternity or maternity leave, childcare issues, labour-management difference of opinion, job preparation, or other personal or family grounds, whether or not they were compensated for the duration off or were looking for other employment.

Trends of Employment

In current years, two studies have emphasized correspondingly on inclinations of employment of individuals with disabilities as well as assessments of the policies put in place to protect against discrimination, especially the ADA. Notably, in both instances, the studies established that a descending inclination in vocation for such populace started in the 90s in addition to persisting to the current time, with some canvassers claiming at least a portion of the preference to the ADA (Smart 2001). Nonetheless, detractors of the explorations have claimed that the establishments are bogus and are because of the investigators utilizing the inappropriate description of disability alongside the unsuitable compartment of the disabled populace in their evaluation. Even though the policies were proposed to promote employment occasions for the disabled by preventing favouritism in the place of work in addition to requiring employees to accommodate the requirements of the disabled workers, the economic theory is increasingly indistinct (Casas 2007). The primary claim put forth by economists is that if employers feel the accommodation cost to be lofty, they will not hire employees who are disabled. A more universal argument is one, which has been put forth in investigating age inequity. Employees who drop their work have a higher probability of bringing a unfairness suit compared to an claimant since the employee who is jobless knows the pertinent pool of work while the aspirant usually has no thought whom the company employs or the credentials of the people that are taken on (Smart 2001). As such, the organizations must ponder the expenses of likely infringing the disability inequity policy besides the expense of availing accommodation to the disabled. In respect to the second, note that, ADA utilizes the hazy term: “sensible accommodation” (Hughes and Paterson 2006). Consequently, employers encounter hesitation as to what degree of adjustment would be regarded practical.

Disability Policies

In 1995, Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was passed to end the public campaign regarding discrimination against disabled people in employment. The DDA protected the rights of those who were defined as disabled under the medical definition at workplace such as access to work and recruitment by complying employers to make reasonable adjustment in tasks for disabled people, making harassment relating to someone’s disability unlawful, risk assessments on health and safety to avoid it turning out as an excuse to dismiss disabled people. In 1997, the New Labour government introduced the New Deal for Disabled People (NDDP), there was a welfare-to-work programme to move people into employment in lieu of sitting on benefit and welfare. This programme provided incentives on a supply side to increase the number of people with accredited impairment in paid labour market, for example, improving job retention due to impairment/sickness, training unemployed people, providing improved job search assistance, subsidies to employers recruiting unemployed people.

The reason I choose these two policies is that they established at the time when disability policy has been more mature, not at the initial stage, more profound effects can be found in such relatively robust legislation for discussion and analysis, also, it has been a period of time after legislation coming in effect, we can see how it develops and impacts on disability employment. Before 1970, dominant approach and public service to disability was medical and individual, that may be why attention went to disabled people’s need of medical assistance, family care due to their functional limitation.

This approach might obstruct disabled people from labour market participation, employers may deem disabled people as less productive (which is not desirable in profit maximisation under capitalist industrial societies), in need of assistance, even problematic and thereby reluctant to hire them. The turning point is the setting up of 1981 Disabled People’s International by organisations controlled by disabled people. People with impairment started expressing their desire for social inclusion and independent and integrated lifestyle, including equal opportunity in employment, to work as a non-disabled individual.

However, those with an accredited impairment were viewed as reliant on the family and friends. This view of disabled people as in need of ‘care and attention’ was regarded as ‘natural’, and was also used to justify state regulation of their lives (Barnes, Mercer and Shakespeare 1999).

In the last quarter of twentieth century, disability employment issues recognised by government and policies, they may change people’s behaviour such as employing disabled people by coercive or encouraging actions but discriminatory attitudes might still remain since government only works on public sphere, little influence on personal aspect, for example, disabled people at workplace may find it hard to mingle with colleagues, who have discriminatory attitudes on and not being friendly to them.

According to the Life Opportunities Survey 2009/10, 56 out of every 100 adults with impairments said there were barriers to the type of work they did or the hours they could work, over one-thirds of every 100 adults with impairments who already had a job said they had barriers to the type of work they could do or the hours they could work, this compares with only 26 out of every 100 adults without impairments. Regarding social model of disability, policy intervention has inhibited impact since social and environmental barriers have not been removed, disabled people still find it hard to lead an independent life socially, personally, in private sphere around the environment constructed for and by non-disabled people, for example, lack of aids and equipments in everyday tasks like transport(74 out of every 100 adults with impairments said they found it hard to use transport services like buses and trains.), wash up and dressing, in which social inclusion and recognition are hard for them to achieve based on discriminatory attitudes, prejudice, stereotype based on social norms and construction.

Generally, welfare-to-work policy has encouraged employers to recruit disabled people because of incentives like wage subsidies, the employment rate has also rapidly gone up, employment rates have risen since 1997, faster than for the non- disabled population (Burchardt 2000) but disabled people have problems in getting little opportunity for advancement and avoiding from low-paid work, poor work environment. As in DDA, there is no minimum standard of accessibility so that employers may dismiss disabled people legally and reasonably by demonstration on people with impairment damaging their business, also, it has restricted subject to business with at least 20 employees. And the medical definition may exclude disabled population.

To sum up, the two policies above are far less prominent on demand-side, some flaws of policy showing attitudes proved people’s resistance to change, for example, reasonable adjustment may seem demeaning to receive and disabled people may not feel comfortable and keep them away from employment, in fact, getting additional help should not be regarded as humiliating, If attitudes can be changed, people with accredited impairments may not be regarded as less productive, problematic, excluded based on social norms, and hence employers probably hire proactively them out of own-will instead of incentives, which are not sustainable due to high costs. Too see the whole picture, the biggest barrier is attitude, policy may get disabled people in employment but there are various ways to discriminate, generate unequal opportunity at work due to discriminatory attitudes subject to the common difficulties to non-experimental estimates. As such, the matters are not detailed here because the primary purpose of this document is to illustrate that the policies that attempt to eradicate disability discrimination do not work and not to discuss the influence of the policies.

In a sequence of editorials, Thomas DeLeire estimated the effects on employment of the ADA. Accordingly, with information from 1986 to 1995, he carried out a probit assessment to approximate how ADA’s ratification influenced the possibility of vocation alongside salaries for disabled people of between 18 and 64 years (Bagenstos 2003). In his straight forward representation, in which he proscribed only for the incidence of ADA, he established that the policy minimized vocation by a statistically considerable 7.3% points. Ideally, when industry, occupation, and demographic characters were held steady, the influence reduced to 4% age points, another time statistically considerable. Subsequently, he permitted the ADA’s influence to fluctuate by time, and he established that influence on employment started in the 90s when it was passed as well as escalated in enormity each year subsequently (Bagenstos 2003). Later, he established that the influence was larger for employees in proletarian, managerial, and manufacturing professions, personnel with psychological as well as physical disabilities, and employees whose limitations were not because of injuries associated to work.

Nonetheless, there was no substantiation that the policy influenced the wage rates of the disabled individuals.Moreover, research by Schur and Kruse as well as that by Burkhauser and Houtenville illustrate how significant the description of the pool of the disabled is in approximating the influence of the discrimination policies (Blanck, Hill, Siegal, and Waterstone 2004. Schur alongside Kruse developed 14 disability metrics grounded on activity limitation, the capacity to work, and receipt of disability income (Blanck et al. 2004). They established that employment of the disabled after the passing of any policy fluctuated by disability metric. Ideally, employment begged off for those that reported work limitations but enhanced among the ones that reported severe or any functional restrictions or constraints related to activities of everyday living who do not account a vocation disability. Burkhauser along with Houtenville established that by taking into account only people with disability for two successive years rather than a solitary year, the reduction in service resulting from the passage of the policies did not exist (Blanck et al. 2004).

Wendy Stock and Kathleen Beegle evaluated the effect of national disability inequity policies on the service of individuals with a disability (Gooding 2000). They established that most states had already enacted policies that prevented disability discrimination even before the enactment of the ADA. Utilizing decimal census information from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, they carried out a sequence of regular slightest squares regressions to establish the influence of intolerance policies on the staff rates of participation, alongside the employment of the disabled people (Gooding 2000). They determined that discrimination policies associated with lower rates of employment for the disabled, a feature that was also established by DeLeire.

Same problems come to pass in studies on topical trends in employment of disabled individuals. A sequence of editorials by Burkhauser alongside his contemporaries highlights a firm reduction in the rates of employment for the populace with disabilities after the encasement of various policies protecting against discrimination (Thornicroft, Rose, Kassam, and Sartorius

2007). Nevertheless, some observers claim that the population data is increasingly weak in capturing the size of the population that is disabled that people should stop asking questions until appropriate data is attained. Nonetheless, others harmonize that there are issues with the foundations of data now accessible on the service of disabled individuals. However, they claim that the primary sources of evidence (SIPP, CPS, and the National Health Insurance Survey) all present increasingly linked vocation series (Thornicroft et al. 2007). Therefore, trends can be identified in the general level of service of the disabled people. From the above findings, one can argue that either the policies affect various sub-populations of individuals with disabilities in a different way or the outcomes are different because of measurement mistakes, for instance, mislaid critical measurement or variables blunder.

However, in the findings, even though a population of the disabled is questionable, it is evident that indeed, there is employment and work discrimination against the people that portray various personal characteristics of disability.

The principle of non-intolerance is to a particular degree the upshot of parity. Non-prejudice reflects the notion that nobody should be subjected to less favourable or unfair treatment due to personal traits, which in a particular context are extraneous (Hehir 2005). The principle comprises of fundamental human rights: the right to be free from prejudice and it is deeply rooted in modern global as well as national law. Apparently, non-discrimination policies were particularly concerned with levelling out structural drawbacks in addition to offsetting the causal power disparities in society, as a result of which individuals with some personal characteristics experience increased challenges in benefitting from equal rights alongside opportunities than others (Hehir 2005). Similar to other human rights, the primary role of nondiscrimination policies is to challenge power associations in society with an objective to safeguarding non-dominant groups besides reinforcing their societal standing (Hehir 2005). Therefore, non-discrimination policies usually seek to avail protection against unfavourable or unfair treatment on the basis known to correlate with exclusion, disadvantages, alongside the denial of similar opportunities.

All over the world, there is a hoary practice of excluding individuals with a disability from mainstream society in addition to subjecting them to all types of degrading and inhuman treatment. Persons with a disability were and still are regularly professed as social recluses as well as dangers to society (Jolls and Prescott 2004). Correspondingly, this was painfully seen in the opinion of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes of the U.S. Supreme Court when upholding the coerced sterilization of a woman with a psychological disability. The Judge said, “three generations of imbeciles are enough” (Buck v. Bell, 1927 at 207) (Colker 2009). Therefore, Individuals with disability doubtless are constituent among those groups or non-dominant persons most in need of and entitled to legal safeguarding against discrimination. Against this backdrop, it is rather disappointing, if not surprising to highlight that only very few nations have enacted legislation, which offers sufficient safeguarding against prejudice by disability (Cavanagh 2002). In most of the nations, the law continues to condone, endorse, as well as perpetuate disability bigotry by “safeguarding” the rest of the society from persons with disabilities via segregation, despite the vast number of non-discrimination policies (Cavanagh 2002).

Nevertheless, the global human rights law has so far not been able to correct this imperfection into national legislation (Banton 1994). Accordingly, there are exceedingly few treaties that avail protection against disability prejudice, mostly insufficiently by way of optional or other status criteria. The actuality that discriminating against the disabled is fated by a vast number of assertions, resolutions, as well as recommendations adopted by all types of global organizations alongside conferences cannot entirely recompense for this because of these other implements, different from treaties, are not lawfully obligatory (Productivity Commission 2004).

Conceivably, this is also true with respect to the U.N standard rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for People with Disabilities, undoubtedly the most important as well as inclusive global instrument certifying the rights of individuals with disabilities (Productivity Commission 2004).

The contemporary century pledges to become the era of legal change. It is anticipated that both the global alongside the national legal scenery with respect to disability prejudice will soon experience a metamorphosis (Productivity Commission 2004). Many global organizations, as well as nations, have dedicated themselves to enlarging the scope of present nondiscrimination policies to incorporate a ground of disability or introduce all-inclusive disability explicit non-discrimination provisions or codes. Numerous global organizations alongside nations have drawn motivation from the Americans Disabilities Act (ADA), from the accomplishments together with failures of which one can optimistically learn (Productivity Commission 2004). Nevertheless, the reason the policies are not translated into concrete action is often that of the challenges legislatures experience when seeking to describe the term disability. The definitional problem is a crucially significant factor of non-discrimination policies because the denotation attached to the word “disability” established whether a person is a constituent of a safeguarded class, or not, and can, therefore, file a grievance in the event of an alleged contravention of the right not to be prejudiced. ADA’s description of disability and the (restraining) way courts in the U.S. are presently elucidating this has resulted in the emergence of enormous controversy, thus raising the fundamental question of how to describe disability as an exorbitant basis for discrimination (LaVeist, Rolley, and Diala 2003).

Disability Discrimination Grounds

Most discrimination policies against disability have an exhaustive list of a prohibitive basis for discrimination. Categorizations made on non-enumerated basis cannot be challenged under such policies unless a clear neutral practice, criterion or provision factually disadvantages a considerably higher percentage of individuals belonging to prohibited basis for prejudice than their counterparts (Stuart 2006). As such, disability non-discrimination policies with a non-exhaustive list of a prohibitive basis for discriminations do not primarily avail the needed degree of safeguarding against capabilities or disability discrimination. The policies have an apparently illustrative non-exhaustive list for outlawed grounds for prejudice, which is complemented by the undefined standard or another status. Because capabilities and disability are typically not contained in these policies, protection against abilities or disability discrimination is reliant on how courts alongside judicial bodies construe as well as apply the standard “other grounds” (Ma

2009). Apparently, from the case law, it gets clear that legal institutions and courts make a sharp differentiation between listed basis on the one hand and non-listed on the other. Accordingly, listed grounds are presumed to match up with deduced categorizations, implying categorization that directly raises the misgiving of unfairness. Notably, this means that it is typically adequate for a petitioner to deliver prima facie substantiation of extreme acts, after which the judicial body or the court will transfer the responsibility of substantiation of non-prejudice on to the defendant. Moreover, in the instance of a prejudice complaint grounded on a non-listed basis, judicial bodies, and courts typically need the plaintiff to bear the full burden of substantiation, and are inclined to apply a lofty standard of examination that efficiently leaves the defendants with a vast margin of prudence to decide what comprises of a reasonable discrimination (Barnes and Mercer 2005).


Bagenstos, S. 2003. " Rational Discrimination," Accommodation, and the Politics of (Disability) Civil Right. Virginia Law Review, pp. 825-923.

Blanck, P. H. 2004. Disability civil rights law and policy. St. Paul, Thomson/West.

Casas, I. 2007. Social exclusion and the disabled: An accesibility approach* . The proffessional Geographer.

Cruft, R. 2005. Against equality of opportunity. Pholosophical Books.

Gooding, C. 2. 2000. Disability Discrimination Act: from statute to practice. Critical Social Policy.

Hughes, B. a. 2006. The social model of disability and the disappearing body: towards a sociology of impairment.

Hughes, B. a. 2006. The social model of disability and the disappearing body: towards a sociology of impairment.

Jolls, C. a. (n.d.). Disaggregating employment protection: The case of disability discrimination (No. w10740). National bureau of Economic Reserarch.

Roemer, J. 2009. Equality of opportunity. Harvard University Press.

Smart, J. 2001. Disability, society and the individual (p. 357) . Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen.

October 25, 2022

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