"Fine-tuning Non-Discrimination Law: Exceptions and Justifications Allowing for Different Treatment on the Ground of Disability"

L.B. Waddington*

*Corresponding author for this work

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This article explores the various exceptions to the non-discrimination principle and the justifications for different treatment that apply in the disability context. For the purposes of this article, exceptions are situations that are excluded from the scope of non-discrimination law and where different treatment is allowed, whilst justifications are situations in which non-discrimination law applies, and where de facto different treatment is either required or allowed, and the limits to such requirements. The article begins by briefly discussing the peculiarities of disability nondiscrimination law, addressing the requirement to make a reasonable accommodation, the asymmetrical nature of disability non-discrimination law, and positive action obligations. The article then introduces the key non-discrimination requirements found in United Nations and European Union disability equality law, before proceeding to examine a number of exceptions to the non-discrimination principle and justifications for different treatment. The article concludes that exceptions and justifications can be a tool to fine-tune or target non-discrimination law, with the potential to both limit and extend protection, in the context of disability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-37
JournalInternational Journal of Discrimination and the Law
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015

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