Great expectations: protection from discrimination because of disability in Community law

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Series Details Vol.31, No.5, October 2006, p667-689
Publication Date October 2006
ISSN 0307-5400
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The Framework Equal Treatment Directive, adopted in 2000, expanded EU non-discrimination legislation. This paper discusses how the European Court of Justice may interpret the Directive's prohibition of discrimination because of disability. The paper begins by situating the Directive in the EU's overall disability policy. The Directive's potential is limited by the formal equality paradigm which animates Community jurisprudence. Its contribution to equality for disabled people is to establish a minimum non-discrimination norm throughout the EU in the labour market, to be enforced through an individual complaint process. The inefficiency of this response to systemic discrimination is compounded by the lack of any requirement for national authorities to establish public institutions to assist individual complainants. The contribution of the Directive to advancing the equality interests of disabled people will vary depending on the experience of each Member State. In addition to its legal impact, national disability groups will reference the Directive in support of their domestic political agenda.

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