A report out today suggests that those in minority or vulnerable groups have been hit hardest by the recession.

One in four workers in companies making staff redundant believe disproportionate numbers of people in minority or vulnerable social groups have been among the first to be dismissed.

The survey of over 500 workers in London commissioned by Ipsos MORI for employment lawyers Russell Jones and Walker, revealed that a quarter of those asked believed that those being made redundant were older employees, women, those with a visible ethnic origin, disabled or those with children.

LGB people were also thought to be of high risk when it came to cutting jobs.

Arpita Dutt from the firm said: “It is important to remember that this reflects employees’ perception of what is going on. Whether it is right or wrong, it is unlikely that these perceptions will include the impact on the ‘invisible’ victims of discrimination, such as those with ‘hidden disabilities’ -especially mental health conditions, women on maternity leave who are absent from the workplace and gay, lesbian and bisexual workers who may not be ‘out’ to all at work

“Very often, where these are underlying factors in an individual’s selection for redundancy, it is unknown to the majority of colleagues in the workplace. ‘

“We are seeing worryingly high numbers of individuals with very strong evidence of discrimination in their selection for redundancy at present. This suggests a high prevalence of unlawful discrimination in dismissals may well be going on.”