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How can equal opportunities for people with special needs be created?

Disabled people do not have the same opportunities to participate in society and work as people without disabilities. Disabled people need an adapted environment before we can talk about equal opportunities to work.

The Equal Treatment Act (subsection 11 (2)) states that employers must take appropriate measures to enable a person with a disability to have access to, participate in, or advance in employment, or to undergo training.

Adaptation of the workplace means that a building, work room, workplace or work equipment is made accessible and usable for a person with a disability. This also applies to commonly used routes and non-work rooms used by disabled employees.

An employer does not have to adapt the workplace for a person with a disability if the necessary measures would impose a disproportionate burden on the employer (subsections 11 (2) and (3) of the Equal Treatment Act).

The Office of Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner has prepared recommendations to ensure that people with disabilities have a real chance of applying for jobs, being selected, working and training.

  • Prepare action plans for hiring disabled people
  • In order to promote the recruitment of people with disabilities, jobs for people with special needs or apprenticeships for young people with disabilities could be considered to improve their chances of getting paid work after their apprenticeship
  • Job advertisements should state that people with disabilities are welcome to apply. This encourages people with disabilities to apply for more jobs and shows that the prospective employer is prepared to make changes to the working environment to accommodate the needs of the disabled employee as necessary
  • Guarantee unobstructed access to and movement inside the building for people with disabilities
  • The work environment should be designed according to the principles of universal design
  • Flexible forms of work should be guaranteed for disabled employees, including part-time work
  • The websites of public authorities must also be easy to use for disabled persons
  • Read the analysis and recommendations “Creating working opportunities for people with disabilities in ministries” prepared by the Office of Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner
  • In the case of disabled people, the principle of equal treatment means that disabled people can be given certain advantages. For example, jobs or apprenticeships could be created specifically for people with disabilities. Such behaviour is not considered discriminatory

If you feel that you’ve been treated unequally, please contact the Equality Commissioner by e-mail at avaldus@volinik.ee or telephone +372 626 9059. The anonymity of the person is guaranteed when contacting the Commissioner.