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Disability discrimination in labour relations

03/04/2012

Khaletskiy Anatoliy Petrovich, 3rd group disabled, applied to the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities in February. He was illegally fired because of his disability. His story is usual for the country but it shows the real situation in relations between employers and employees with disabilities.

Anatoliy Khaletskiy employed to grocery store “Avtozavodskoi” as a sales floor inspector, he submitted all the necessary documents including IPR (individual program of rehabilitation) in which the speciality “inspector” was approved by the medical commission.

In his contract it was written that he was employed on probation and it contradicts the Belarusian legislation. But the wish to work dulled vigilance of Khaletskiy. As it turned out it wasn’t the only violation by the employer: Anatoliy was doing the job of security although in his work-book it was written “inspector”. But it played important role when the probation term came to an end and the employer decided to get rid of the unwanted employee.

The fight between the employer and the employee was long and came through all the stages. By some strange accident the documents and IPR submitted by Khaletskiy disappeared from the personnel department. He was threatened by some memos in which it was written that he wasn’t doing his job well enough, special document was written about his refuse to submit documents about his disability. Unannounced evaluation of his working place was done. After it the employer told Khaletskiy that daily movements of inspector are more than 4 kilometers but his IPR lets not more than 4. But according to the employer Khaletskiy didn’t submit his IPR! In this case there were a lot of discrepancies and failures.

As the result Khaletskiy was fired with the following record: “Non-compliance of the employee with the position or work fulfilled because of the state of health preventing the continuation of the contract”, part 2 article 41 of the Labour Code of the Republic of Belarus. It became the reason for the appeal to Zavodskoi court of Minsk with the initial demand: to change the record in the work-book to “Because of violations by the employer of labour legislation”, art 41 of the Labour Code of the Republic of Belarus.

As it was written above, Anatoliy Khaletskiy applied to the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities. The Office’s lawyer recommended him to change the demands to the court to: reinstate the claimant at his working place and to pay the compensation provided by the legislation.

Galina Krot the expert of the Office for the rights of persons with disabilities comments on the situation: “The first thing I’d like to pay the public’s attention to is the violation of the right of a person with disability for labour and disability discrimination. The employer thinks that it is his right to decide whether a person with disability should or shouldn’t work. “We don’t need disabled employees. We have vacancies, but only for healthy people!”, - said official representative of “Avtozavodskoi” in court. But even if not to pay attention to moral part of the problem we can see that the employer many times broke the law: set probation term, made the inspector to fulfill the duties of security, didn’t offer Khaletskiy another vacancy or transfer to another position or retraining. It is written about the persons with disabilities in the legislation. The representative explains it by the fact that at the time Khaletskiy was fired there were no vacancies. IPR conclusions are also very doubtful. Very often the IPR’s conclusions give employers the possibility to fire employees. Employers dispute IPRs’ conclusions and find arguments to prohibit a person with disability to work at some concrete working place and send them to change the IPR conclusion. It can be explained by the concern for the health of a disabled but at the same time gives employer some extra possibilities to fire him. The most outrageous fact is the disappearance of documents from personnel department. When a person employs for a job he has to submit documents but no one creates the list of submitted documents. The person responsible for the documents can easily do something so that the submitted documents would disappear. And it is almost impossible to prove the fact that you had submitted this or that document and here we speak not only about this particular case but about the fact of absence of the mechanism of protection of the interests of workers in submitting documents.

Now the case is being considered by the Zavodskoi court of Minsk. Next hearing is scheduled to 11.00 March 20, 2012.