Maltese law sets out various obligations on employers in the sphere of disability within employment. The employment of persons with disabilities is currently regulated by the "Persons with Disability Employment Act" (Chapter 210 of the Laws of Malta), as well as by the "Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act" (Chapter 413 of the Laws of Malta), according to which employers are, amongst others, prevented from discriminating against persons with disability.
In order to inform EU citizens of their right to equal treatment, back in May 2019, the European Commission launched the #EUvsDiscrimination campaign. A part of this campaign focused on the right to reasonable accommodation for persons with a disability.
Employers have a statutory obligation to provide reasonable accommodation – an obligation also imposed under Maltese Law.
In summary, employers must take appropriate measures to enable a person with a disability to apply, perform, and advance in job functions, or undertake training on an equal basis with others. They are to be granted access to, participate in, and advance in employment and this extends to all work-related activities covered by EU law, from the job application process through to termination.
A publication on this subject has recently been published detailing what reasonable accommodation is and providing various examples of such accommodation by the public and private sector as well as civil society.
NOTE TO EMPLOYERS
1. The obligation to provide 'reasonable accommodation' is qualified to such extent that the measures would not impose a disproportionate burden on the employer. The law refers to a 'test of reasonableness' as well as factors with which this assessment is to be carried out.
2. The term 'disability' has a very specific definition at law. It is not restricted to physical impairments, must not be short term, and must have a specific effect on the person's participation in society.
3. Failure to offer reasonable accommodation without justification is deemed to be discrimination for the purposes of the law.
4. The Maltese Industrial Tribunal has had occasion to award compensation to employees who were found to have been unfairly dismissed as well as discriminated against by the employer who had failed to offer reasonable accommodation.
5. Maltese law also sets a quota requiring employers to employ persons with disability.
6. The rules on equal treatment are not absolute, in that there may be exceptions permitted by law. The law also encourages 'positive action' to safeguard and promote the integration of disabled persons into the working environment.
7. Noncompliance may give rise to civil and/or criminal liability.
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