DWP discriminates against disabled workers more than any other employer

A new BBC Panaroma investigation has revealed the department is particularly inept at following equality law.

13 Mar 2020

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), which is responsible for overseeing the Welfare State, including the assessment of whether people with disabilities are ‘fit for work’, has been successfully sued for discriminating against its own disabled workers more times than any other employer in the UK.

BBC’s Panaroma revealed that, over the last four years, nearly £1 million has been paid out by the DWP to compensate workers who were mistreated due to their disability.

The department, currently headed by Therese Coffey, was taken to court 134 times between 2016 and 2019 by workers bringing disability discrimination cases, paying out at least £953,314 overall.

While the average employer loses 3% of disability discrimination cases, the DWP lost 13% and settled 45 claims out of court.

Karen Jackson, a disability discrimination lawyer, told Panaroma it was a “horrible irony” that the department responsible for ensuring disabled people are correctly identified and protected had such a terrible track record.

This is just the latest in a series of reports over the last two months revealing that the new government is falling foul of employment law. It is facing high-profile tribunal cases, including one brought by a former aide who was frogmarched out of Downing Street by armed police, and one from a former Permanent Secretary, who blew the whistle on a bullying culture in the Home Office.