Workers with Disabilities Between Legal Changes and Persisting Exclusion: How Contradictory Rights Shape Legal Mobilization

Law & Society Review, 2019

Posted: 20 Dec 2019

See all articles by Julie Ringelheim

Julie Ringelheim

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Philosophy of Law; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Aude Lejeune

CNRS

Date Written: September 4, 2019

Abstract

It has become commonplace within disability socio-legal scholarship to argue that, in the last thirty years, a new legal and policy approach to disability has emerged, leading to a paradigm shift from a social protection framework to an anti-discrimination model. Some authors have stressed, however, that the new model has not fully replaced the older social protection approach. Yet little is still known about how the coexistence of these different models impacts on the everyday experience of disability in the workplace and on potential legal mobilization. Based on interviews with workers with disabilities who mobilized the law to obtain reasonable accommodation in Belgium combined with an analysis of evolving Belgian legal schemes relating to disability, this article explores how interactions between social, labor and anti-discrimination rights shape legal mobilization of persons with disabilities in the workplace. We find that individual’s initial self-identification as workers or persons with disabilities influences how they frame their claim and the kind of legal norms they refer to in a first stage but that both their identification and their rights consciousness evolve and change through the course of legal mobilization as they interact with various professionals and navigate between the different concepts and rights available in current law.

Keywords: Disability, Antidiscrimination, Reasonable Accommodation, European Law, EU law, Belgian Law, Labor Rights, Social Rights

JEL Classification: K10, K31, K33

Suggested Citation

Ringelheim, Julie and Lejeune, Aude, Workers with Disabilities Between Legal Changes and Persisting Exclusion: How Contradictory Rights Shape Legal Mobilization (September 4, 2019). Law & Society Review, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3498337

Julie Ringelheim (Contact Author)

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Philosophy of Law ( email )

Pl. Montesquieu, 2
Louvain-la-Neuve, B-1348
Belgium

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

Aude Lejeune

CNRS ( email )

3, rue Michel-Ange
Paris, 75794
France

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