Training Outline

7.1 Standard Lecture: The Law In Practice (1 hour)

  • Emphasize that it is very important at the drafting stage to plan the ways in which laws and policies will be enforced. There are several primary functions that are needed and these include, but are not limited to, central administrative data collection, inspection and investigations, dispute resolution and complaints, and decision making and judgments. Use Transparency 116 to outline the variety of ways that enforcement of a law may be foreseen through: the Labour Inspectorate; an administrative monitoring system such as a National Disability Council, an Ombudsman Institution or an Equality Commission; the judicial system in criminal, civil or labour law courts; industrial employment tribunals or a combination of the above approaches.
  • Use Transparency 117 to explain that legislation concerning the employment of persons with disabilities generally contains sections dealing with institutional structures charged with the enforcement of the law; announcing its establishment, if it is a new structure (for example, a National Disability Council); and outlining its composition, role and functions. The role of the labour courts may also be described in the law, along with complaint procedures, and sanctions (administrative or penal fines, imprisonment, civil actions).
  • Explain to participants that the tasks of monitoring and evaluating compliance with equal employment opportunity policies and legislation can be left to the enforcement agencies involved and/or assigned to special bodies or independent researchers.

    Policies and laws often impose a duty on employers to collect data on the number of people with disabilities employed and report such data to a special agency. Such data can be used to promote equal employment opportunities within the firm, and social partners when drafting or evaluating Collective Labour Agreements. The collection of such data involves a restriction on the right to privacy of the disabled persons concerned given that information on these persons and the presence or absence of disabilities is collected and supplied to others.

    Explain that careful consideration is needed concerning how this need for information can be balanced with the promotion of equal employment opportunities for a disadvantaged and under-represented group. Reconciling information collection with the right to privacy presupposes the adoption of laws stipulating the exact purposes and clearly defined circumstances under which such information on individuals can be collected and passed on.

    OPTIONAL EXERCISE (45 minutes): Ask participants to break up into small groups of 3-5 individuals and to respond to the following questions (as illustrated in Transparency 118):
    • Why is it important to collect data regarding the employment status of the population with people with disabilities?
    • How might collection of data compromise individuals with disabilities?
    • What approaches could be taken to minimize this risk but at the same time provide much-needed information/data?

    Each group should allow 10 minutes to respond to each question and be prepared to report their findings to the larger group. Allow 15 minutes for groups to summarize. Debrief by illustrating how France has dealt with this issue in the example below excerpted from the French Labour Code.

    “For example, in the French Labour Code (L. 520), provision is made for the collection of statistics, for example on the number of disabled people in employment, but not of the names of individuals.”

  • Use Transparency 119 to outline the other entities that might have data collection and/or enforcement responsibilities. Explain to participants that the Labour Inspectorate, within the framework of its usual data collection duties, may be called upon also to gather data on actions or infringements of a disability law or equality law with a disability dimension.

    The task of monitoring compliance with and evaluating the effects of, equal employment opportunity policies and legislation can also be assigned to such bodies as a Human Rights, Equal Opportunity or Disability Commission. These bodies are usually dependent on the data provided by individual employers, but often have the power to start investigations on their own initiative.

    Ombudsman Institutes often have administrative functions to check abuses by public authorities, and could also be used to monitor compliance with disability provisions. Individuals can usually make complaints to such institutes.

    The task of monitoring compliance can be partly carried out by NGOs, such as organizations representing people with disabilities. These bodies can make valuable contributions by investigating the strengths and weaknesses of equal employment opportunities policies and law. They lack, however, the authority – and often the resources – to investigate complaints and measure compliance by individual employers, as a result of which the task of monitoring cannot be solely left to these bodies.

    Close this subsection by emphasizing that responsibility for performing these tasks can be assigned to various organizations and bodies. In order to be effective, however, these organizations and bodies should have sufficient means (information, staff, and resources) and the necessary powers to carry out these tasks.