Disabled people report high levels of harassment worldwide, often based on intersectional characteristics such as race, gender and age. However, while #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter have highlighted ongoing experiences of sexual and racial harassment, disability harassment has received little attention.
This book focuses on legal measures to combat disability harassment at work. It sets disability harassment in its international context, including its human rights framework, and confronts the lack of empirical information by evaluating the Irish legal framework in practice.
It explores the capacity of the law to address intersectional harassment, particularly that faced by disabled women, and outlines the barriers to effective legal solutions.
4.1 Introduction This chapter outlines the social and legal context for disability harassment in Ireland. Ireland is a member of the EU; as such, it is bound by EU law, including the FED, making it a suitable comparator for other EU member states or for states with an EU legal legacy, such as the UK. It has also ratified the CRPD, making its experience relevant to the many jurisdictions that have ratified that convention. Ireland’s legislative provisions on disability harassment are comprehensive and, in most respects, exemplify compliance with both the
1.1 Introduction Persons with disabilities experience high levels of harassment 1 and are particularly exposed to intersectional harassment based on multiple characteristics, such as race, gender and age. 2 However, while sexual and racial harassment have received considerable attention from legal scholars, there has been little in-depth analysis of disability harassment law. 3 There has also been surprisingly little discussion of the human rights framework, the effectiveness of legal measures seeking to address disability harassment or the reasons for
2.1 Introduction This chapter outlines the human rights framework for addressing disability harassment. The purpose of the chapter is to explain the legal context in which disability harassment occurs and to highlight the obligations of states to address it, particularly in the EU. The chapter begins with a brief overview of the general human rights framework relevant to both disability harassment at work and intersectional forms of discrimination. These include the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention on
6.1 Introduction This chapter considers what other jurisdictions might learn from the Irish experience and identifies a number of key lessons. First, the Irish experience raises significant concerns for the effectiveness of disability harassment legislation. The chapter therefore considers the relevance of the Irish findings to other jurisdictions, analysing key elements of the Irish legal framework from a comparative perspective. Second, the chapter examines the wider implications of the Irish findings regarding intersectional forms of harassment and
3.1 Introduction The human rights framework outlined in Chapter Two requires states to take steps to address disability harassment. However, even where states do this (usually as an aspect of their general equality and anti-discrimination law), it does not necessarily follow that these measures are effective in practice. This is not to say that such measures are unimportant – they certainly provide an avenue for redress for some, and they communicate that disability harassment is unacceptable, thus performing an important normative function
7.1 Introduction This book set out to explore the legal response to disability harassment at work. After outlining the nature of disability harassment and the intersections between disability harassment and other forms of discrimination, the book highlighted the global prevalence of disability harassment as a phenomenon that requires urgent legal attention. The available international research indicates that disability harassment is widespread and pervasive; it is also evident that persons with disabilities are particularly subject to intersectional forms
5.1 Introduction Chapter Four outlined the Irish legislation addressing disability harassment at work: the EEA. As noted there, the EEA is fully compliant with the FED in relation to disability harassment and meets most of the CRPD’s requirements (the principal exception being its failure to address intersectional discrimination). This chapter explores the effectiveness of the EEA in addressing disability harassment at work. The chapter focuses primarily on Allott’s concept of curative effectiveness, that is, the extent to which law offers an effective