Article from Ministry of Culture

Inadequate accessibility became a new form of discrimination in 2015


Inadequate accessibility for people with impairments has been introduced as a new form of discrimination in the Discrimination Act. This is a step towards a society in which everyone is seen as an individual and more people can participate on equal terms.

Participation in society – a human right

Participation in society of people with impairments is a fundamental human right. Equality before the law must prevail and the equal value of all people must be respected in all areas. A society that stands up for the equal value of all people is a society that gives everyone the opportunity to develop on the basis of their own individual qualities and conditions, and in line with their own abilities and choices.

The aim of the act is to create an opportunity for individuals with impairments to assert their right to take part in society on equal terms.

Inadequate accessibility

The Riksdag has adopted amendments to the Discrimination Act. Under the amendments, inadequate accessibility for people with impairments has been introduced as a new form of discrimination. The term inadequate accessibility means that a person with an impairment is being disadvantaged because a business has not taken reasonable measures for accessibility to enable the person to enjoy conditions comparable with those enjoyed by people without this impairment.

The measures are to be reasonable for the business. In making that assessment, account must be taken of provisions containing accessibility requirements in law or in other statutes. These provide strong guidance as to what can be required under the ban on inadequate accessibility. Financial and practical conditions for taking the measure must also be taken into account. For example, the draft legislation exempts companies in the areas of goods and services and health and medical care that have fewer than ten employees.

Which areas are affected?

The ban on discrimination in the form of inadequate accessibility will apply in the following areas of society:

  • Working life
  • Education
  • Labour market policy activities and employment services not under public contract
  • Starting or running a business
  • Professional qualifications
  • Membership of certain organisations
  • Goods and services
  • General meetings
  • Public events
  • Health and medical care
  • Social services
  • Social insurance
  • Unemployment insurance
  • State financial aid for studies
  • Military and civilian service
  • Public employment

Impairment rather than disability

The Riksdag has also decided that the word ‘disability’ is to be replaced with the word ‘impairment’ in the Discrimination Act, the Act concerning the Equality Ombudsman, the Education Act and the Hiring Out of Workers Act.

The legislative amendments entered into force on 1 January 2015

The Riksdag adopted the legislative amendments in June 2014. The amendments entered into force on 1 January 2015.