Workers with Disabilities Between Legal Changes and Persisting Exclusion: How Contradictory Rights Shape Legal Mobilization
Law & Society Review, 2019
Posted: 20 Dec 2019
Date Written: September 4, 2019
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
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