Employment Aid for Disabled Lags in Italy

     (CN) – Italy must require employers to adopt “practical and effective measures” for its disabled population, Europe’s highest court ruled.
     The EU Council had bolstered its employment law to include the equal treatment of persons with disabilities in keeping with the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The law requires employers take appropriate measures to guarantee employees with disabilities access, participation and the opportunity for advancement.
     While Italian law includes some protections for disabled workers, the European Commission found that it failed to fully extend to all workers with disabilities. Italian regulations also require local authorities to enact further measures of protection, allowing them to collectively bargain with employers over workplace disability regulations – essentially depriving disabled workers of legal remedies in the face of discrimination.
     Regulators sued Italy over its failure to transpose EU directives into national law. The Court of Justice of the European Union said it held on Thursday that member states “must create an obligation for employers to adopt effective and practical measures” to accommodate disabled employees.
     Stressing that the obligation covers all employers, the Luxembourg-based court also slammed Italy’s effort to provide support and incentives. National law must require all employers to adopt effective employment measures on a case-by-case basis, according to the ruling.
     “Upon examining the various measures adopted by Italy for the integration of persons with disabilities into the labor force, the court finds that those measures, even when assessed as a whole, do not require all employers to adopt effective and practical measures, where needed in particular cases, for all persons with disabilities, covering different aspects of work and enabling them to have access to, participate in, or advance in employment, and to undergo training. Accordingly, Italy has failed to fulfill its obligations,” the court said in a statement.
     Its decision is available only in French and Italian.

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