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1 in 5 Neurodivergent Employees Experience Discrimination at Work

1 in 5 Neurodivergent Employees Experience Discrimination at Work
20 February 2024

CIPD research shows a potential link between neurodiversity and harassment at work.

In a survey of over 1,000 workers, 790 people considered themselves to be neurodivergent, with 20 per cent saying they experienced harassment or discrimination at work because of their neurodivergence.

Neurodiversity refers to the range of differences in individual human brain function and behavioural traits and has come to be used as an umbrella term for people who experience things like dyslexia, dyspraxia, ADHD and autism. 

Over half of the neurodivergent employees surveyed (52 per cent) feel that their organisation has an open and supportive climate where neurodiversity can be discussed openly.

31 per cent of neurodivergent employees haven’t told their line manager or HR about their neurodivergence, with 44 per cent of this group saying it’s a private matter. 37 per cent said they are concerned about people making assumptions based on stereotypes, and 18 per cent assumed their organisation wouldn’t be understanding or offer support.


Neuroinclusive Organisations and Fairer Workplaces


Dr Jill Miller, Senior Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy Adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), said: “Neurodiversity needs to be a key focus in an organisation's equality, diversity and inclusion work. The design of workplaces and people management approaches haven’t traditionally considered neurodiversity, meaning many employees may not be able to perform at their best. Action is needed to create neuroinclusive organisations and fairer workplaces, with equality of opportunity for neurodivergent employees, free from harassment and discrimination.

“This means good people management, getting to know people as individuals and understanding their needs. Organisations should ensure managers have the training to manage people effectively, offer flexible working and provide clear access to reasonable adjustments. These practices can make a significant difference to neurodivergent people’s working experience, as well as benefitting employees more widely.

“Focusing on neurodiversity can have important business benefits, including widening the talent pool to recruit from, supporting employee wellbeing and improving employee performance and retention.” 

Picture: a photograph of two people wearing headphones with microphones, sitting at a desk next to each other. Both are looking at desktop computers. Image Credit: Pexels

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 20 February 2024


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