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Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act No. 55 of 1998)

Code of Good Practice

Employment of Persons with Disabilities

1. Foreword


The Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998 (the Act) constitutes one of the key legislative and policy interventions within the ethos of South Africa's constitutional dispensation. It gives effect to the provisions relating to the implementation of the policies and practices that result in the promotion of equality and diversity in the workplace. Focus is placed on eliminating unfair discrimination and promoting the equitable representation of persons with disabilities in the workplace. Discrimination is a socially constructed action and can thus be avoided by ensuring better knowledge, understanding and awareness about disabilities and the challenges encountered by persons with disabilities.


Although many barriers such as widespread ignorance, fear and stereotypes have caused persons with disabilities to be unfairly discriminated against in society and in employment, South Africa can take pride in its effort to formulate policies to protect the rights of persons with disabilities.


Unfair discrimination against persons with disabilities is perpetuated in many ways, including the following:


Unfounded assumptions about the abilities and performance of job applicants and employees with disabilities;
Advertising and interviewing arrangements which either exclude persons with disabilities or limit their opportunities to prove themselves;
Using selection tests which discriminate unfairly;
Inaccessible workplaces; and
Inappropriate training for persons with disabilities.


The Code of Good Practice on the Employment of Persons with Disabilities (the Code) is thus part of a market where they experience high levels of unemployment and often remain in low status jobs or earn lower than average remuneration.


The Code is particularly important since disability is a natural part of the human experience and in no way diminishes the rights of individuals to belong and contribute to the labour market. When opportunities and reasonable accommodation are provided, persons with disabilities can contribute valuable skills and abilities to every workplace, and contribute to the economy of our society.