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What does the implementation of appropriate and necessary measures mean?

In addition to the general accessibility requirements, § 11 of the Equal Treatment Act stipulates the employer’s obligation to take the appropriate measures necessary in a particular case that allow a disabled person to access the workplace, to participate in work and to receive promotion or training. A similar obligation also arises from the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (Article 27(1)(i)), which uses the term ‘reasonable accommodation’.

Unlike the general accessibility requirements, which must be met by all public buildings, the implementation of appropriate measures means adapting the workplace to the needs of a particular disabled person. In other words, appropriate measures are always applied individually to a single employee or applicant. Appropriate measures may include any adjustments to the work premises and equipment, work organisation and the division of tasks and working hours that enable a disabled person to work on an equal basis with other employees. Adaptation can also mean working with a support person and additional training for the acquisition of job skills.

Failure to apply appropriate measures is discrimination on the grounds of disability pursuant to the Equal Treatment Act. An employer has the right to not take the appropriate measures only if such measures would impose a disproportionate burden on the employer (subsection 11 (2) of the Equal Treatment Act). In order to determine whether the burden on the employer is disproportionate, the financial and other costs of the employer, the size of the entity or enterprise and the possibilities to obtain public funding or funding from other sources will be taken into account among other things. The burden is not disproportionate if the services and benefits provided by the state are adequate.

The Unemployment Insurance Fund offers the following services to help employers take the appropriate and necessary measures:

  • adaptation of the work place and work resources
  • working with a support person
  • reimbursement of the employer for labour market training
  • sheltered employment
  • use of an aid required for work free of charge (for the employee)
  • advising and training employers

Pursuant to clause 6 (1) 5) of the Social Tax Act, the state pays social tax instead of the employer for an employee who receives a pension for incapacity for work, which is taken into account when assessing the proportionality of the burden.

This explanation does not constitute legal aid in a specific case. Therefore, if you feel that you have been treated unequally, but you did not find a solution to your problem in this article, or if you have a question, 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.