Europe´s first comprehensive Disability rights law|
But discrimination does not occur in the field of employment only. Disabled people suffer from discrimination not only in the field of employment but also in areas of life like public transport, education and access to goods and services, which also have a huge impact on the employment potential of disabled people.
The field of employment is closely linked to several other areas such as for example education, transportation and access to services and goods. Therefore a legislation within the field of employment only, is not enough. In order for the disabled person to be an active member of the society in all areas and to enhance a broad non discrimination approach, a new disability specific directive is needed.
Disabled people in Europe look with envy to the legislation in the US (the Americans with Disabilities Act) and want a European with Disabilities Act and ask for disability specific comprehensive non-discrimination legislation.
In 2002 EDF proposed a Disability Specific Directive at a meeting of the Disability Intergroup of the European Parliament. The legal base of this Disability Specific Directive is article 13 of the EC Treaty, which enables the Community to take initiatives to combat discrimination on the grounds of disability. The Community has already made use of these new provisions, in particular in the areas of employment and occupation.
On the basis of this new Treaty article, the Council adopted on 27 November 2000 Directive 2000/78/EC "Establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation". The Directive prohibits any discrimination, be it direct or indirect, on the grounds of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. With regard to disability, this Directive recognises that the failure to provide a reasonable accommodation in the workplace can constitute discrimination. The concept of reasonable accommodation includes measures to adapt the workplace to people with disabilities, for example adapting premises and equipment, patterns of working time etc. in order to facilitate their access to employment.
When the Employment Directive was presented, it was received by EDF and its members with mixed feelings. It was well accepted because of the fact that the European Commission, so soon after the entry in force of article 13, had made use of their right to initiative. But there were worries because the directive's scope was only limited to employment and vocational training.
As an active EDF member, IF participated in the run-up to the adoption of the Employment Directive and participates to the promotion of the campaign in support of a Disability Specific Directive.
Read the Disability Specific Directive