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NCD Topical Overviews - An Overview of the Experience of the United States with Employment and Right to Work Protections

Tuesday, August 2, 2005
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August 2, 2005

SCOPE AND PURPOSE:

The purpose of this brief report is to aid the delegates in their deliberations on the United Nations Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities. Specifically, the intent of this paper is to present some examples from the U.S. experiences, as well as appropriate foreign models, concerning the issues around employment and right to work protections for individuals with disabilities. In particular, the issues, legal questions and court interpretations relating to these topics are explored with a view toward helping define the debate and providing possible solutions or cautionary advice. This paper is not meant to provide a full examination of all the legal arguments encountered around the topic of employment for people with disabilities, but instead is intended to highlight the more commonly raised questions and potential interpretations. Among the issues explored are: the definition of disability; what is a qualified worker; what is a reasonable accommodation; what is undue hardship (on the employer); and what is discrimination in hiring? In addition, examples of good models from both the public and private sectors are provided to illustrate the core values and practices that foster hiring and retention of workers with disabilities. Finally, because the American experience often differs considerably from the social and labor context of other countries, some good examples of foreign models are also discussed.

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