Maltese law sets out various obligations for employers in the area of disability in employment. Employment of people with disabilities is currently regulated in the “Employment of Persons with Disabilities Act” (Chapter 210 of the Maltese Laws) as well as the Equal Opportunities (People with Disabilities) Act (Chapter 413 of the Laws of Malta), which provides employers among other things, are prevented from discriminating against people with disabilities.
In order to inform EU citizens about their right to equal treatment as early as May 2019, the European Commission launched the #EUvsDiscrimination campaign. Part of this campaign focused on the right to reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities.
Employers are required by law to take reasonable accommodation – an obligation that is also required under Maltese law.
In summary, the employer must take appropriate measures to enable a person with a disability to apply for, carry out and develop professional functions or to carry out training on an equal footing with others. They should gain access to employment, participate in it and develop further. This extends to all work-related activities that fall under EU law, from the application process to termination.
A paper was recently published on the subject, setting out what reasonable accommodation is and providing various examples of such accommodation in the public, private and civil society sectors. Click the image below to access the publication.
NOTE TO EMPLOYERS
1. The obligation to provide reasonable accommodation is so qualified that the measures would not burden the employer disproportionately. The law relates to an “appropriateness test” as well as factors against which that assessment is to be carried out.
2. The term “disability” has a very specific legal definition. It is not restricted to physical impairments, must not be short-term and must have a specific impact on the person’s participation in society.
3. Failure to take reasonable accommodation without justification is deemed to be discrimination within the meaning of the law.
4. The Maltese Labor Court had an opportunity to grant compensation to workers found to have been wrongly dismissed and discriminated against by the employer who had failed to make reasonable arrangements.
5. Maltese law also sets a quota that employers must employ people with disabilities.
6. The rules of equal treatment are not absolute insofar as there may be exceptions permitted by law. The law also promotes “positive action” to protect and promote the integration of disabled people into the work environment.
7. Failure to comply can result in civil and / or criminal liability.
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