A news podcast that starts with the people who are normally asked last.

1.10 Ableism enabled: The loopholes in Equality Law - with Jumoke Abdullahi and Ellen Jones

Media Storm presented by Mathilda Mallinson and Helena Wadia.

Warning: Some swearing

Disabled workers are over twice as likely to be unemployed as non-disabled workers — even not counting those who are ‘economically inactive’ due to health or other reasons. Countless testimonies point to ableism at every stage of the employment game, from applying to jobs to being made redundant. And yet legally-speaking, there is almost no trace of disability discrimination in UK workplaces, with only 72 disability employment tribunals happening in the latest published annual period (2019-20).

If not for discrimination, why are disabled people struggling disproportionately to access work? And if there is discrimination, why is no one paying for it?

This week, we dig up the canyon of workplace ableism that has been buried in confidential settlements, or faced no reckoning at all. We look at the myriad of ways that ableism manifests in workplaces, and the loopholes and limitations of the law designed to prevent it.

Joining us in the studio are two very special guests: Triple Cripples podcast host Jumoke Abdullahi and campaigner-consultant Ellen Jones. We discuss the mainstream media’s coverage of disability, and how the Covid-19 pandemic cast an uncomfortable light on society’s valuation of different people’s lives.

The episode is hosted by Mathilda Mallinson (@mathildamall) and Helena Wadia (@helenawadia), with Helena Da Silva Merron and Maria Kalinowska as researchers.

Guests:

  • Keryn Seal @KerynSeal4 
  • Izzy Jani-Friend @isabellejanifriend 
  • Emma Vogelmann @emma.vogelmann @disabilitylawservice @scopecharity @emma_vogelmann @DSL_Law @scope 
  • Roxanne Steel @roxannesteelofficial 
  • Maria Kalinowska @m.a.kamera 
  • Jumoke Abdullahi @jayonlife @herroyalj @triplecripples
  • Ellen Jones @ellen__jones 

Sources:

  • Disabled and non-disabled employment rates, UK (calculated from the most recent quarterly data, for October-December 2021): https://bit.ly/36GtoY7 
  • Disability Employment Tribunals - number and amounts awarded: https://bit.ly/3D9Nwy3 - these give annual figures only for the year 2019-2020; we were unable to access more recent figures due to the handling of that data being moved to new case managements systems within the government, and therefore being delayed in publication (as detailed here: https://bit.ly/3iA05Jn)
  • Reasonable adjustments explained: https://bit.ly/3L9DcJ9 
  • Access to Work provisions: https://bit.ly/3577Vaj 
  • Disabled people in employment in the UK: https://bit.ly/37YXtTu
  • PIP cuts: https://bit.ly/3Dbegyk 
  • ‘Economically inactive’ populations, UK (calculated from the most recent quarterly data, for October-December 2021): https://bit.ly/3wzRA9C 
  • Disability representation in UK TV industry: https://bit.ly/3wwfB1e   

Get in touch by following the show on social media @mediastormpod or emailing us mediastormpodcast@gmail.com

Music by Samfire @soundofsamfire. Artwork by Simba Baylon @simbalenciaga.

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