ASSOCIATION of Lawyers with Disabilities in Nigeria (ALDIN) has said employers of labor in the country should be made accountable for acts of discrimination in the workplace.
Mr Daniel Onwe, a legal practitioner and president of ALDIN, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos.
He said there had to be a collective effort to end discrimination of persons with disabilities in the workplace through the creation of relevant laws.
According to him, discrimination against persons with disabilities is not only unlawful but criminal by virtue of Section 1 of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act.
“Disregarding the law could land anybody in jail.
“Again, besides the fear of sanctions, it makes a whole lot of business sense employing persons with disabilities and giving them the requisite enabling work environment and assistive facilities,” he said.
Onwe said research had shown that persons with disabilities were very efficient and dedicated to their work.
“Unfortunately, out of ignorance, employers, who want dedicated staff still deny persons with disabilities employment.
“One thing that may still be a secret to many undiscerning employers of labor is that in the new world of work and the new normal, persons with disabilities have a comparative advantage in terms of good performance,” Onwe said.
The president of ALDIN stressed the need to make the work environment accessible to persons with disabilities.
He also noted that if the work environment was accessible to persons with disabilities, it would be better access to other individuals creating a “win-win” environment.
“The world is increasingly becoming aware of the importance of inclusion of the persons with disabilities in all works of life.
“That is why at the international level, we have the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“Countries of the world are churning out different legislations on persons with disabilities. Even at home, Nigerian states are realizing this and are enacting disability laws.
“So, it has become the trend. So, any employer that cannot read the current handwriting on the wall will only have self to blame,” Onwe said.
He noted that unlike the days of old, there are now laws with which lawyers for the disability community can hold erring employers to account.
NAN reports that Section 1(2) of the Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities (Prohibition) Act 2019 states that a corporate body found liable of discrimination against a disabled person is liable to a fine of N1 million.
While an individual found liable will pay an N100,000 fine, face a six-month imprisonment term or both. (NAN)
– April 30, 2021 @ 18:40 GM