Human rights commission to bring forward legal code of practice on disability discrimination

Emily Logan
Emily Logan

A new legal code of practice will be brought forward by the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to promote greater employment of disabled people, the body has said.

Once completed, the code, prepared under the Commission’s statutory powers, will be legally admissible in evidence in court, Workplace Relations Commission and Labour Court proceedings.

Chief commissioner Emily Logan announced the initiative today at a gathering of over 150 public and private sector employers, trade unions, people with disabilities and civil society organisations.

She told the event that disability discrimination is “persistent, pernicious and prevalent in Ireland’s workplaces and recruitment practices, and needs to be seriously and collaboratively tackled by all those with a stake in our labour market”.

The “Achieving Equality in Workplace: Reasonable accommodation in practice” event was also addressed by disabled people and speakers from the International Labour Organisation, the Scottish Government, ibec, ICTU, and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

Disability discrimination in employment was the top issue raised to the Commission by members of the public over the last four years. In the first half of 2019, more than a third (36 per cent) of all contacts concerned disability discrimination in employment.

Ms Logan said: “The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is receiving a persistently high level of calls and emails specifically related to disability discrimination in employment. Already this year 36 per cent of all queries to us in relation to employment have focused on disability, the highest level we have seen to date.

“Integrating reasonable accommodation as set out in law for people with disabilities into the routine recruitment, selection and employment processes is essential, if we are to reverse these negative employment trends. This requires senior management to take a leading role in creating a culture of equality and inclusion in the workplace.

“Participation of people with disabilities, in what reasonable accommodation may be used to create a level playing field for them is at the heart of today’s meeting.”

Vivian Rath, member of the Commission’s disability advisory committee, added: “People with disabilities are very familiar with our own needs and as such are best positioned to advise on the necessary supports that will enable us to be successful in our jobs.

“The well-known disability mantra – nothing about us, without us – should be kept top-of-mind focussing any discussion on reasonable workplace accommodation on the particular person and their specific needs.

“Engaging with people with disabilities from the get-go leads to the development of positive sustainable workable arrangements.”

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