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'The Victimisation Was Horrible': Why Are So Many Disabled Lawyers Treated Badly?

Tuesday 11 February 2020


From UK newspaper The Guardian:


Woman in wheelchair
Long working hours, stress and bullying can
compound existing problems for disabled lawyers.
(Photograph: Robert Kneschke/Alamy.)

'The victimisation was horrible': why are so many disabled lawyers treated badly?

A new study says that more than half of disabled lawyers have experienced bullying or discrimination at work

By Abby Young-Powell
Tuesday 11 February 2020
© 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

When Isobel Rogers, 29, who has chronic fatigue syndrome and myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), was offered her first job at a law firm she was “thrilled and really optimistic”. But it wasn’t long before the bullying started. Rogers told her new employer about her disability and asked for reasonable adjustments, which included a request to occasionally leave the office before 7pm. “After that [my managers] would deliberately schedule meetings at 6.55pm,” she says. “When I did leave the office earlier, as agreed, I’d get texts saying I had to go back. I’d be in pain, fatigued, and alarmed by the way the situation was escalating, but I’d have to go.”

The long working hours and stress made Rogers’s pain worse. “I felt completely hopeless,” she says. “I was waking up at 4am with the worst pain I’ve ever had. It was worse than when I had brain surgery, but the victimisation was the most horrible thing.” She left after just a few months.

More than half of disabled lawyers have experienced “ill treatment” such as bullying or discrimination in the workplace, and most say it was because of their disability, according to research by Legally Disabled, a copartnership between Cardiff University and the Law Society. The research was based on 55 interviews and nearly 300 survey responses, making it the largest study of its kind in the UK. Many respondents said they had experienced “ridiculing or demeaning language” (40%) and “exclusion or victimisation” (47%).


Full article…



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