EU Careers: Equal Chances? Not for all

20 December 2018

Visually impaired candidates are at a disadvantage when applying for EU jobs, due to an inaccessible process, concluded the EU Ombudsman after an inquiry that ended on the 14 December.

The case focused on two complaints by visually impaired candidates: the inaccessibility of the application form, and inaccessibility of the computer-based tests used in parts of the selection process. Candidates complained that, among other things, the form to request accommodation for special needs is inaccessible, the calendar fields used in the forms are inaccessible, and the requested assistive technology is not actually provided during computer-based tests.

The Ombudsman concluded that these complaints were valid and issued 3 advices to the European Personnel Selection Office, responsible by these selection procedures: ensure accessibility of the online forms as soon as possible; set a detailed plan to assure assistive technologies are available when requested; explicitly inform candidates that some “reasonable accommodation” options are only available at certain stages.

To make the recommendations the Ombudsman took into account that these were ongoing issues, first raised by complainants in 2016. At the time the European Personnel Selection Office – responsible by these selection procedures – stated that the problems with online forms would be resolved. However, no action was taken until today. The Ombudsman also referred to the concluding observations made by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2015, which note that the EU institutions “are not role models with regard to employment of persons with disabilities” and that “not all the websites of the various European Union institutions are fully implementing accessibility standards”.

Read the full decision here

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