There are few quantitative studies that show the workplace is experienced in a different way by employees with disabilities. This article fills this gap using data from the British Workplace Behaviour Survey, which found that employees with disabilities and long-term illnesses were more likely to suffer ill-treatment in the workplace and experienced a broader range of ill-treatment. Different types of disability were associated with different types of ill-treatment. The survey also showed who employees with disabilities blamed for their ill-treatment and why they believed the ill-treatment had occurred. Drawing on the existing literature, four possible explanations for ill-treatment are considered: negative affect raises perceptions of ill-treatment; ill-treatment leads to health effects; ill-treatment results from stigma or discrimination; ill-treatment is a consequence of workplace social relations. Although some of these explanations are stronger than others, the discussion shows that more research is required in order to decide between them. © The Author(s) 2013.