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Equinet Seminar: Accessibility and reasonable accommodation

February 24th 2016

Monday 4th and Tuesday 5th April 2016, Vienna, Austria

On 4th and 5th April 2016, Equinet and the Austrian Disability Ombudsman organised the seminar "Accessibility and reasonable accommodation" in Vienna, Austria. The seminar took stock of the experiences of equality bodies on accessibility and reasonable accommodation. It also aimed to build their capacity in understanding, promoting and ensuring reasonable accommodation and accessibility.


Background information

In the last years, the issue of the advancement of reasonable accommodation and accessibility in the workplace and beyond has been high on the EU and international non-discrimination agendas.

If adopted, the proposal of the EU Horizontal Equal Treatment Directive would complement the Framework Employment Directive by obliging the EU Member States to provide persons with disabilities with general accessibility and reasonable accommodation in areas beyond employment.

In the context of the review of the EU’s performance in implementing the UNCRPD, the UN Committee published its concluding observations. It formally recommends the EU to take effective action to ensure that persons with disabilities receive the reasonable accommodation they need, including by moving forward on the proposals of the European Accessibility Act and the Horizontal Equal Treatment Directive.

The concept of reasonable accommodation is also essential for other grounds of discrimination. The example of accommodation of religious and cultural practices and needs in the workplace is particularly relevant in a context of rising discrimination on the grounds of religion and belief.

In light of this, the Equinet 2013 Good Practice Guide “Equality bodies supporting good practice on making reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities by employers and service providers” and the 2014 perspective “Realising Rights. Equality bodies and people with disabilities. Supporting the review of the European Union Disability Strategy 2010-2020” both highlight significant challenges for equality bodies in promoting reasonable accommodation and accessibility.

These reports served as bases for discussion at the Seminar on Reasonable Accommodation and Accessibility.

  (Click to enlarge picture)

Objectives

Equinet organised a one and a half day capacity-building seminar for equality bodies’ staff members on accessibility and reasonable accommodation.

The seminar took stock of the experiences of equality bodies on accessibility and reasonable accommodation and built on previous work by Equinet in this field, notably on the 2014 Perspective and the 2013 Good Practice Guide.

In particular, the seminar aimed to:

  • Build capacity of equality bodies’ staff members in understanding, promoting and ensuring reasonable accommodation and accessibility by:
    - Facilitating the exchange of good practices
    - Initiating discussions on challenges encountered by equality bodies in this area
    - Providing equality bodies with practical advice on how to implement effectively the concepts of accessibility and reasonable accommodation
  • Update equality bodies on recent EU and international developments related to reasonable accommodation and accessibility

Summary

The summary of the Seminar is available here:


Speakers’ Presentations

OPENING SESSION

SESSION 1 - Setting the Scene: Specific challenges and ways forward on accessibility and reasonable accommodation for persons with disability

WORKSHOP 1 - Discussion groups: Promoting accessibility and reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities in employment

WORKSHOP 2 - Discussion groups: Promoting accessibility and reasonable accommodation for persons with disability beyond employment

WORKSHOP 3 - Discussion groups: Equality bodies’ good practices

SESSION 2 and WORKSHOP 4 - Reasonable accommodation beyond the ground of disability

CONCLUDING SESSION

  • Anne Gaspard, Equinet Executive Director
  • Birgit Lanner, Office of the Austrian Disability Ombudsman

Agenda

The agenda of the seminar is available here:

Final_agenda_ARA_Seminar
Final_agenda_ARA_Seminar


Photographs

Accessibility and Reasonable Accommodation - Vienna, April 2016

Reading Material

Equinet

European Equality Law Network

European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

European Disability Forum