Training Outline

7.2 Standard Lecture: Asserting Rights Under The Law (15 minutes)

  • Explain to participants that the effectiveness of an equal employment law and regulations to implement these laws depends on the availability and accessibility of judicial and/or administrative procedures to individuals. Individuals, and those who represent their interests, must be enabled to enforce the principle of non-discrimination or to claim appropriate compensation through individual cases or group actions taken before the courts.

    Using Transparency 120 outline that disability complaints can be made at different points in a judicial system through: constitutional law provisions; criminal law provisions; civil and labour law provisions; and, combinations of criminal, civil and constitutional law.

    OPTIONAL EXERCISE (30 minutes): Ask participants to break up into small groups of 3-5 individuals. Ask participants to respond to the following questions (as illustrated in Transparency 121):
    • What is the best vehicle or method for asserting rights under the law – civil or labour law or constitutional or criminal law and why? In many countries (as referenced in 2.4 in Module 2), it is easier and less intimidating to bring a complaint under civil and labour law as they typically confer in greater detail and emphasize employment rights including the general scope of the law, precise definitions regarding discriminatory practice and protected classes.
    • Why is one means better than another? While constitutional law sets the national tone and elevates the importance of disability issues in a country, guaranteeing rights of people with disabilities, generally they do not have the level of specificity detailed in civil and labour law as specified above.
    • In relation to disability employment non-discrimination legislation, should both types of law be options? Why? As mentioned above, both are critical. Constitutional law guarantees inalienable rights, while civil and labour laws specify the details regarding discriminatory practice and protected classes.

    Allow groups 15 minutes to process the question and 10 minutes for the group report and consensus building. In the last five minutes conclude by reiterating, as was previously stated in Section 2.4, that it is easier and less intimidating, in many countries, to bring a complaint under civil and labor law, than under constitutional law or criminal law. Explain that while court procedures are important, their effectiveness in promoting equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities should not be overestimated. Individual workers who consider themselves wronged because of an alleged discriminatory form of treatment should nevertheless be provided with the opportunity to bring legal actions before an independent court.