Incapacity neighborhood requires reform after discrimination claims develop into ‘inconceivable to show’
A frustrated alliance of lawyers and community organizations led the Commonwealth Attorney General to rewrite Australian disability discrimination laws after a court case made discrimination claims “almost impossible to prove”.
The alliance of 46 disability, community and legal organizations and 15 individuals has written to Attorney General Michaelia Cash asking her to rewrite portions of the federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992.
The group, which also includes People with Disability Australia (PWDA), has a four-year-old federal court case called Sklavos. argued undermines the protection that people with disabilities are supposed to enjoy under federal anti-discrimination laws.
PWDA’s chairman Sebastian Zagarella said the Australian College of Dermatologists’ interpretation of the Disability Discrimination Act against the Australian College of Dermatologists needs to be corrected with an amendment to the law.
“We call on Senator Cash and the Morrison administration to reaffirm the intentions of the Disability Discrimination Act and to make it imperative that organizations make appropriate adjustments for people with disabilities,” said Zagarella.
Reasonable adjustments can include changes in the workplace and school, in housing, in access to facilities, land and premises – or in clubs and sports – and in the delivery of goods and services.
Around 45% of people with disabilities say they have been discriminated against by their employer because of their disability. The percentage that is discriminated against could be even higher.
Every sixth person with a disability also has in
Well-respected disability lawyer, Vice President of Australia’s Human Rights Lawyers Natalie Wade, said the Sklavos case effectively relieved organizations from the obligation to take positive action to address a person’s disability.
“Thanks to the Sklavos case, people with disabilities face a heavy burden of proof that there is a causal link between their disability and the organization’s failure to make reasonable accommodation,” said Adelaide
said Mrs. Wade.
“With such an insurmountable barrier, it is almost impossible to prove disability discrimination in court and much more difficult to make appropriate adjustments in practice.”
The Law’s Reasonable Adaptation Provisions are designed to provide substantial equality for people with disabilities in a range of situations by ensuring changes to structures, systems and practices for adapting to disabilities.
People with disabilities need discrimination laws to support us in all areas of life, including employment, education, health, transportation, housing, recreation and culture.
Discrimination can result in people with disabilities avoiding everyday activities and increasing the likelihood of psychological distress.
You can read the letter from the alliance and the recommended additions as a PDF.
 Sklavos v Australasian College of Dermatologists  FCAFC 128.
Speaker: Natalie Wade, Vice President,
Australian human rights lawyers,
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