Purpose To examine the impact of disability on workplace harassment and discrimination.
Methods Cross-sectional data from the 2014 Canadian Public Service Employee Survey was analysed (n=175,742) using logistic regression to investigate the relationship between self-reported disability and workplace harassment and discrimination in the last two years. Age, gender, and ethnicity were included as potential confounders and interaction terms. Additive and multiplicative interactions were examined using linear binomial and logistic regression respectively.
Results Disability was significantly associated with increased odds of harassment (odds ratio [OR]=2.80, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 2.68–2.92) and discrimination (OR=4.97, 95% CI: 4.72–5.23) in models adjusted for confounders. A significant positive additive interaction was observed between disability and 1) age in the harassment and discrimination models and 2) ethnicity in the discrimination model. Excess risk due to an interaction between disability and age (reference = age 24 and under) was greatest amongst employees age 40–44 years in the harassment model (interaction contrast (IC)=8.19%, 95% CI: 7.22%–9.13%) and 45–59 years in the discrimination model (IC=13.32%, 95% CI: 7.25%–18.34%). In the discrimination model, excess risk due to an interaction between disability and ethnicity (reference = not a visible minority) was observed for employees who identified as visible minorities (IC=4.49%, 95% CI: 1.53=7.51%) and as Aboriginal (IC=6.00%, 95% CI: 2.85%–9.21%).
Conclusion In the current Canadian labour market disabled employees experience high levels of workplace harassment and discrimination despite policy and legislation to prevent this. Additional efforts to address workplace harassment and discrimination are needed, especially for vulnerable groups.
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