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Washington Update 
 

U.N. Disability Treaty Approved by Senate Panel 
8/2/2012   
 
 

On July 26, the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations approved the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Signed by President Obama in 2009, the treaty is nonbinding in the U.S. and does not require any change in American law. But its provisions apply nondiscrimination principles to many areas relevant to HR, including employment, accessibility, reasonable accommodations and access to justice. 

The committee action occurred on the 22nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, the landmark statute that protects qualified individuals with disabilities from employment discrimination by employers with 15 or more employees.

SHRM is committed to removing barriers to employment for all people with disabilities. SHRM’s support and advocacy for disability employment is demonstrated in its partnership with the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) and in negotiating and pushing for the enactment of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA).

It is unlikely the Senate will approve the treaty before Congress departs for its annual August recess later this week. However, ratification of the treaty before the end of 2012 is a possibility. In the Senate, ratifications of treaties require approval by a two-thirds majority vote of senators who are present.

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