Disabled employees are more likely to be physically and mentally bullied at work – often by their manager – a UK academic study finds.

The research from Cardiff and Plymouth universities revealed that employees with physical and mental disabilities or long-term illness are twice as likely to be physically attacked at work.

They also endure higher rates of insult, ridicule and intimidation. Typically, bullying takes the form of being given impossible deadlines, or being ignored, teased or gossiped about.

The researchers interviewed nearly 4,000 people, 284 of whom had a disability or long-term illness. More than 10 percent of those in this category said they had suffered physical violence at work, compared to 4.5 percent of those without disability or illness.

It was a similar story in all areas of ill-treatment studied in the research. The long-term ill or disabled were more likely to be shouted at, insulted, humiliated, ridiculed or injured at work as a result of aggression.