Region: Europe

Disability Definition

Persons with disabilities (disabled persons) means a person who has disadvantages, because of permanent physical, mental or psychological disabilities, to perform everyday activities, to socialize, to move, to educate themselves or to have gainful employment.

A disadvantage is when the disabled and other than the disabled are not treated equally while in a worse position with no objective justification, or if a different treatment is lacking, which is necessary for effective equality of disabled and non-disabled people.

A disadvantage in the access to a building, a plant, an apartment or facility or a public transport vehicle is present if access for disabled persons for structural reasons is not possible or only under aggravating conditions.

A disadvantage in the use of training and further education exists in particular if: a. the use of handicapped-specific aids or the provision of necessary personal assistance is made more difficult; b.the duration and structure of the educational offer as well as examinations are not adapted to the specific needs of the disabled.


Disability Equality Act, BehiG, Federal law on the elimination of discrimination of persons with disabilities. Enacted on December 13, 2002, amended January 1, 2017. https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classified-compilation/20002658/index.html

The purpose of the law is to prevent, reduce or eliminate discrimination suffered by persons with disabilities.

Sets framework conditions that make it easier for people with disabilities to participate in social life and, in particular, to independently cultivate social contacts, to gain further education, and to gain gainful employment.This law applies to, among other areas, employment according to the Federal Personnel Act of 24 March 2000.

The Federal Council, created by this law, may carry out or support temporary pilot projects in order to test incentive schemes for the employment of disabled people. For this purpose, there may provide investment contributions for the creation or creation of disabled work places.

The Federal Constitution identifies that no one should be discriminated against due to a disability. The Disability Discrimination Act, which came into force in 2004, continues to regulate the services of the common denominator. These must also be accessible for people with disabilities.

Article 14 of the Telecommunications Act of 30 April 1997.

Signed (13 December 2006), ratified (15 April 2014) and came into effect (15 May 2014) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Switzerland has not adopted the optional protocol.



Employer Legal Requirements

Swiss labor law applies to all persons active in the labor market, regardless of whether or not they have a disability. Depending on the type of employment (public or private), the various relevant laws apply. In addition to general regulation, special provisions are in place to ensure equal rights for people with disabilities in the workplace.

The Disability Equality Act (BehiG, SR 151.3) includes provisions to promote the occupational integration of persons with disabilities. It does not apply to the private sector, but only affects the employment relationships in the federal administration — where they must take the necessary measures to set up the work environment according to the needs of its disabled employees, for example by adapting the workplace or working hours.

If the employer is a company or a private person, the employment relationship is based on the rules on the employment contract in the Code of Obligations (OR, SR 220), or more precisely in Articles 319 et seq. The Code of Obligations contains compulsory rules from which the parties may not deviate, semi-mandatory rules from which the parties may derogate only in favor of the employee, and dispositive rules in which the parties are free to make other arrangements. The Federal Personnel Act refers extensively to the provisions of the OR. Access details to these employment laws from the below resource: https://www.edi.admin.ch/edi/en/home/fachstellen/frb/recht-und-beratung/rechtliche-grundlagen.html

Can disability status be asked during the Application stage:
• no, except if necessary for determining the candidate/employee’s suitability for the specific job
After offer has been made:
• no, except if necessary for determining the candidate/employee’s suitability for the specific job
After employment commences:
• no except if necessary for determining the candidate/employee’s suitability for the specific job or for the performance of the specific employment contract

Barrier-Free Framework: https://www.edi.admin.ch/edi/de/home/fachstellen/ebgb/themen-der-gleichstellung/arbeit/berufliche-inklusion-.html

GDPR is not part of Swiss law. Under Swiss law, personal data of employees may generally only be processed to the extent that it concerns the employee’s suitability for his/her job or is necessary for the performance of the employment contract. Therefore, diversity data should not be required, except if necessary for determining the candidate/employee’s suitability for the specific job or for the performance of the specific employment contract.

Applicants must answer questions relating to health conditions truthfully if such data is necessary to assess the applicant’s eligibility for the job.

Although protected classes are not recognised under Swiss law, several laws provide for similar protection. For example, unlawful dismissal may apply if a termination notice was given purely based on the grounds of disability and despite the fact that the employee performed their job well (Article 336(1)(a) of the Code of Obligations).

Grants are available for employers seeking to conform with requirements and include more people with disabilities in the workforce. https://www.edi.admin.ch/edi/de/home/fachstellen/ebgb/finanzhilfen.html






Accessibility Requirements

The Federal Constitution identifies that no one should be discriminated against due to a disability. The Disability Discrimination Act, which came into force in 2004, continues to regulate the services of the common denominator. These must also be accessible for people with disabilities.

For private employers, they are only bound to accessibility by the principle of good faith (Article 2 ZGB) and by the duty of care under labor law (Article 328 CO) . As a result, if, for example, employer hires a blind person, he or she will not be able to perform his / her job due to the inadequate software that violates the employer’s good faith. Or if an employee gets an injury due to inaccessible software on a machine, the employer may have violated their duty of care. However, there is no general obligation to provide barrier-free software and hardware. Access for All is a leading resource and consultant for employers seeking accessiblity support in Switzerland: https://www.access-for-all.ch/ch/richtlinien-barrierefreiheit.html

Cultural Norms

Around 1.8 million people with disabilities live in Switzerland.

Many people with disabilities work in a second labor market, sheltered workshops.

Business Practices/Examples

Additional content coming soon.


According to the Federal Statistical Office (FSO), only 72% of people with disabilities are active in the labor market (compared to 85% for persons without disabilities). In addition, people with disabilities work far less often full-time, despite good qualifications and high motivation.

Self-determination and the participation of people with disabilities are also promoted by the welfare state integration policy, for example in the context of disability insurance or by the improved accessibility to buildings or public transport. The Federal Council Report of 2018 is groundbreaking in this regard: https://www.inclusion-handicap.ch/de/medias/rapport-du-conseil-federal-sur-la-politique-du-handicap-324.html


Supplier Diversity

Certification is in place for women-owned business enterprises (WeConnect).

Talent Sourcing Resources

Procap: Works for inclusion, including access to jobs for its members. Procap is the largest member association of and for people with disabilities in Switzerland. Our self-help organization today has more than 21,000 members in around 40 regional sections and 30 sports groups. https://www.procap.ch/de/ueber-uns.html

Additional Resources

Federal Bureau for the Equality of People with Disabilities FBED https://www.edi.admin.ch/ebgb

As a united voice, Inclusion Handicap represents the common interests of 23 organizations and their members towards the authorities, politics and business. As an umbrella organization, Inclusion Handicap coordinates cooperation with key players at national, inter-cantonal and international levels. https://www.inclusion-handicap.ch/de/ueber-uns-2.html

Swiss Association of the Deaf (The Swiss Deaf Federation) is a national umbrella organization. Since 1946 he has been working for the equality of people with hearing impairment. http://www.sgb-fss.ch/

Swiss National Association of and for the Blind (SNABLIND) provides support servies for blind, visually impaired, deafblind individuals. Also, train professionals in our courses and seminars to enable them to offer blind, visually impaired and deafblind people the best possible support. https://www.snab.ch/en/snab/

Work Integration Switzerland: Work integration Switzerland is the national branch organization for questions of vocational and social integration. Work integration Switzerland represents the concerns of its members towards politics, business and society and actively supports the positive image of integration services.Membership organization that has online job postings. http://www.arbeitsintegrationschweiz.ch/de/home

Handicap International Swiss National Association Handicap International promotes the professional integration of people with disabilities – often excluded and without resources – in the local socioeconomic fabric, by supporting individual or collective projects (development of agricultural activities, creation of a bicycle repair shop, sewing, etc.) and facilitating access to bank loans. It also makes companies aware of the employment of people with disabilities. https://handicap-international.ch/fr/







Equal Rights of Disabled Persons Limited in Many Areas https://www.humanrights.ch/en/switzerland/internal-affairs/groups/disabled/equal-rights-disabled-persons-limited-areas

Handicap International: our presence in the streets of Switzerland https://handicap-international.ch/fr/actualites/handicap-international-notre-presence-dans-les-rues-de-suisse-1

Erster Bericht der Schweizer Regierung über die Umsetzung des Übereinkommens über die Rechte der Menschen mit Behinderungen – Initial report by the Federal Council, 29 June 2016 (pdf, 67 pages in German) https://www.humanrights.ch/cms/upload/pdf/160629_BehiK_Initialstaatenbericht.pdf