The Department for Work and Pensions has lost more employment tribunals for disability discrimination than any other employer in Britain since 2016.

BBC Panorama found the DWP lost 17 of 134 claims of discrimination against its own disabled workers from 2016-2019.

And it paid out at least £950,000 in both tribunal payments and out-of-court settlements in that time. The DWP said it was ‘shocked’ by the data but was reviewing its processes to ensure all staff were treated fairly.

It is the government department that is responsible for supporting people with disabilities into employment.

Of its 80,000 members of staff, 11,000 identify as disabled. Panorama analysed the publicly available data on the online Employment Tribunal decisions database up until December 2019. It reveals that the DWP had more cases in total and more cases which it lost than any other employer.

A comparison with the five employers who had the largest number of disability discrimination cases also showed that the DWP had more cases and more tribunal defeats in proportion to its total number of employees.

Karen Jackson, Managing Director and Solicitor at didlaw

Karen Jackson, a leading disability discrimination lawyer, said: “There is a horrible irony that the organisation that is designed to look after the more vulnerable members of our society is constantly falling foul of the Equality Act around disability.

To me, that can can only suggest that there is something quite fundamentally, systemically wrong with the culture of the organisation.”