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EQUINET - Reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities: Exploring challenges concerning its practical implementation

In 2020, Equinet’s working group on Equality Law analysed the topic of reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities and prepared the ensuing discussion paper. This Discussion Paper builds upon the work done by Equinet in 2014 and the more recent background work done in order to submit, in July 2020, Equinet’s third-party intervention in the case of Toplak and Mrak v Slovenia. On the basis of this prior work, the Equality Law working group decided on main issues that needed to be explored further in this Discussion Paper that aims at giving a comparative view of the main identified problematic issues in the field of reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities to serve as a resource and practical guide to Equality Bodies and other interested stakeholders.
Discussion Paper

The introduction to this Discussion Paper, drafted by Jone Elizondo-Urrestarazu, explores the applicable legal framework, including the UNCRPD, CoE instruments and EU law and the most relevant case-law. Additionally, the lack of awareness among duty bearers and the general public is explored regarding the issues to be explored in the following chapters.

The first chapter, drafted by Veronika Bazalová, addresses the difference between reasonable accommodation and accessibility, concluding that even if in the legal framework these measure are easily distinguishable, practice is not as clear but due to the apparent lack of case law, it is difficult to pinpoint what are the causes of this. Nevertheless, it is apparent that the concepts of reasonable accommodation and accessibility are complementary and can strengthen each other towards better equality.

The second chapter, drafted by Lindsey Reynolds and Imane El Morabet, dwells on the scope of the duty of reasonable accommodation, providing an overview of the requirements of the reasonable accommodation duty in EU law , under the CRPD and through the analysis of some trends in how the duty is implemented at national level. The chapter concludes that there is an overall lack of clarity on the parameters of what is considered to be reasonable. Differing views were offered as to the extent to which this is problematic in practice, balancing out the pros and cons of having more concrete guidance or having the freedom and flexibility to choose in each case.

In the third chapter, Konstantinos Bartzeliotis focuses on the procedural aspects regarding who has responsibility for designing a reasonable accommodation measure. The author concludes that these procedures are mainly regulated at national level with a varying complexity, in which the CRPD Committee’s recommendations can serve as a compass for the parties involved and the national adjudicating bodies.

This Discussion paper is complemented by an annex that compiles relevant case law regarding the topic of the publication, on the basis of which the analysis was done.

Download both Discussion Paper and Annex here.

Download file type AcrobatReasonable-Accommodation-Disability-Discussion-Paper(1).pdf