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Laws 2016, 5(2), 17; doi:10.3390/laws5020017

Can International Human Rights Law Help Restore Access to Justice for Disabled Workers?

Department of Human Resources & Organisational Behaviour, University of Greenwich, Old Royal Naval College, 30 Park Row, London SE10 9LS, UK
Academic Editor: Anna Arstein-Kerslake
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 29 February 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Disability Human Rights Law)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [264 KB, uploaded 6 April 2016]

Abstract

The research literature indicates that legislative changes in recent years, including the introduction of tribunal fees, have made it harder for workers in general to enforce their rights under UK employment laws. Drawing on the author’s qualitative study, conducted in 2015 and with information from 265 participants, this paper finds that these legislative changes could be having disproportionate adverse impacts on disabled workers. Of particular note, fees had deterred substantial numbers from submitting discrimination claims; and it appeared that this reluctance to take legal action had in turn emboldened some employers to commit what might have been found to constitute unlawful acts if taken to tribunal. The paper goes onto consider whether these adverse impacts on disabled workers could render fees unlawful under UK and European equality and human rights law and/or could entail violations of rights under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The paper concludes that the intent behind UK laws might (in relation to the lawfulness of fees) have been frustrated in the domestic courts and that the impact of any future successes in the domestic courts, or under international law, might be dependent upon public opinion and political expediency. The paper also briefly compares developments in Britain with developments in neighbouring and other comparable jurisdictions. View Full-Text
Keywords: UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Equality Act; discrimination; disability; tribunal fees; justice; employment UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Equality Act; discrimination; disability; tribunal fees; justice; employment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Harwood, R. Can International Human Rights Law Help Restore Access to Justice for Disabled Workers? Laws 2016, 5, 17.

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