European Anti-Discrimination Council
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR EMPLOYERS
The new rules
apply to all private and public sector employers. The Directive also
covers conditions for access to self employment (such as the conditions
applying to the practice of certain trades or professions). All
employers will need to review their employment practices to make sure
that they are not discriminating directly or indirectly for example in
recruitment procedures, selection criteria, pay and promotions,
dismissals or access to vocational training. The new anti discrimination
rules apply to all stages of the employment contract from recruitment
through to termination.
Employers will have a duty of "reasonable
accommodation" in respect of candidates or employees with a disability.
Employers are required to take appropriate measures to enable a person
with a disability to have access to employment and training unless doing
so would impose a disproportionate burden on the employer. "Reasonable
accommodation" may include, for example, providing wheelchair access,
adjusting working hours, adapting office equipment or simply
redistributing tasks between members of a team. To determine the
disproportionate burden, account should be taken in particular of the
financial and other costs entailed, the scale and financial resources of
the rganisation and the possibility of obtaining public funding or any
other assistance.Evidence is beginning to emerge in the European
Union that good employers are taking an interest in diversity for
business reasons, rather than simply to comply with legal requirements.
There are many benefits to businesses of having workforce diversity
policies. They can form part of companies' broader strategy to build up
human capital and encourage creativity and innovation. Diversity can
give companies a "cutting edge" in their dealings with customers,
suppliers, shareholders and other stakeholders in today's multicultural
and globalised markets.
A commitment to diversity can also
enhance a company's reputation and corporate image.
"Discrimination-proofing" can help companies to avoid the costs of
litigation, high labour turnover and absenteeism. It can also provide
employers with access to non-traditional labour pools and help them to
attract and retain high quality employees.