The relationship between disability discrimination law and quota schemes in Europe (February 2019)

Presented by Professor Lisa Waddington, with discussant Professor Beth Gaze.

CELRL Labour Law Seminar

The relationship between disability discrimination law and quota schemes in Europe

Seminar presented by Professor Lisa Waddington, with discussant Professor Beth Gaze

Monday 11 February 2019: 1–2pm at Melbourne Law School

About the event

This presentation explored the relationship between disability discrimination law and quota laws or schemes in Member States of the European Union. Quota schemes oblige employers to employ a certain percentage of registered people with disabilities. 21 of the 28 Member States have such schemes in place. In addition, all EU Member States prohibit disability discrimination in the field of employment as a result of the EU Employment Equality Directive (2000/78). As well as reflecting on the relationship between these two measures in general, the presentation also considered if that relationship seems to be different in common law compared to civil law jurisdiction in the EU.

The presentation explored seeming incompatibilities between discrimination law and quotas, as well as revealing how, in some instances, quota schemes can serve to facilitate compliance with discrimination legislation and vice versa.

The presentation first provided some background to European quotas, looking at the history of quota schemes and the way in which they are organised, and then provided an overview of quota schemes operating in the European Union, considering both schemes in operation in common law and civil law jurisdictions. Lastly the presentation reflected on the relationship, tensions and interaction between quota schemes and discrimination law, including considering whether there are differences between common and civil law countries in this respect.

About the speaker

Lisa Waddington holds the European Disability Forum Chair in European Disability Law. Professor Waddington’s principal area of interest lies in European and comparative disability law, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and European and comparative equality law in general. In 2000, she received an ASPASIA award from the NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research). Between 2004 and 2007 she coordinated a large EU research and education project on European non-discrimination law. She also coordinated the involvement of Maastricht University in the FP7 EuRADE project (European Research Agendas expanding Disability Equality) and the Marie Curie Initial Training Network DREAM (Disability Rights Expanding Accessible Markets, 2011-2015). She is currently coordinating Maastricht University’s participation in the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training network DARE (Disability Advocacy Research in Europe (2019-2022). Lisa Waddington is a member of the Maastricht Centre for European Law, the Ius Commune Research School and the Human Rights Research School. Between 1993 and 2004 she was the editor of the Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law. She is currently a board member of a number of Networks and organisations, including the European Network of Legal Experts in Gender Equality and Non-discrimination and the Academic Network of European Disability experts. Professor Waddington has been a visiting professor at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, the University of Melbourne and Leeds University.

About the discussant

Beth Gaze is a Professor at Melbourne Law School and is a member of the Centre for Employment and Labour Relations Law. Beth has published extensively on anti-discrimination law, including employment discrimination, and on tribunals, and has conducted socio-legal research in both areas. She has acted as an expert advisor to the Victorian Parliament and is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of Discrimination and the Law. With Anna Chapmen, she is presently engaged in a major project on the intersection between provisions of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) and anti-discrimination law. Beth has degrees in science and law from Melbourne and Monash Universities and the University of California (Berkeley), where she held a Fulbright postgraduate student grant, and has been admitted to legal practice in Australia.