ILO releases new guide to promote diversity and inclusion at the workplace

Europe, December 15 2016

GENEVA: On the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities (marked annually on 3 December), the International Labour Organization (ILO) is releasing a new publication to provide step by step guidance on how and when to provide workplace adjustments – also called accommodations – for workers with specific needs.
Cover page of Promoting diversity and inclusion through workplace adjustments: A practical guide
Promoting diversity and inclusion through workplace adjustments: A practical guide highlights that while all workers should enjoy equal access to employment, some of them face barriers that may put them at a disadvantage. Such barriers can prevent them from accessing or remaining in employment and, if not addressed, they can also deprive companies of a broader, more diverse pool of workers from which to recruit.

“Reasonable adjustments contribute to harnessing the full professional potential of workers and thereby to business success,” says Shauna Olney, Chief of the Gender, Equality and Diversity Branch.

While recognizing that the need for a reasonable accommodation may arise in a variety of situations, the guide focuses on four specific categories of workers: workers with disabilities, workers living with HIV, workers with family responsibilities and workers with a particular religion or belief.

Reasonable accommodation means providing one or more modifications that are appropriate and necessary to accommodate a worker or job candidate’s individual characteristics so that he or she may enjoy the same rights as others.

Taking effective measures for the inclusion of all workers in the workplace is essential for the promotion of equality and to ensure that the rights and protection contained in International Labour Standards are a reality for all. “This guide constitutes a great tool for those committed to the realization of this objective,” states Horacio Guido, Chief of the Application Branch of the International Labour Standards Department.

They also point out that these adjustments can be done at little or no cost to the employer and result in concrete benefits to both the employer and the worker.

The publication is designed to help the user understand the concept of reasonable adjustments, accompanying measures, as well as the process and steps to provide workplace adjustments throughout the employment cycle, including practical examples.

“The refusal of reasonable adjustments at the workplace can constitute a form of discrimination. This guidance tool, which is ideal for all businesses, is well placed to help employers, including in small and medium sized enterprises, to provide a more inclusive working environment,” says Beate Andrees, Chief of the Rights at Work Branch.

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