Costa Rica

Region: Americas

Disability Definition

Any physical, mental or sensory impairment which substantially limits one or more of an individuals major activities.


Under Costa Rica Law No 7600, Ley de Igualdad de Opportunidades (The Equal Opportunities Law for People with Disabilities), no person can be discriminated because they’re disabled if they are equally capable as another person. Act No. 18283 of February 2014, amending Act No. 7600 on Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, brought the definition of persons with disabilities and of accessibility into line with the CRPD.
– law also promotes that public places and transport should have facilities that enable people with disabilities to access them.
– ensures equal opportunities for the Costa Rican population in areas that include: health, education, work, family life, recreation, sports, culture and other dimensions

The State must provide technical assistance to employers in order for them to be able to adapt job requirements and the work environment to the needs of persons with disabilities (changes on the physical space and providing technical aids/support services)

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security must maintain a service of qualified professionals to provide job readaptation, job placement, adaptation to new positions for persons with disabilities. For improvement, this service must be in contact with the organizations of persons with disabilities.

Signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 30 March 2007 and ratified the treaty on 1 October 2008.

Law on the Inclusion and Protection of Persons with Disabilities in the Public Sector, No. 8862, September 2010, quota of 5 percent for the person with disabilities only for the public sector.

Article 29 of Law 7600 foresees government-sponsored vocational rehabilitation, see Reglamento a la Ley de Inclusión y Protección Laboral de las Personas con Discapacidad en el Sector Público, Ley N° 8862

Act No. 9049 of June 2012, recognizing Costa Rican sign language as an official language

Employer Legal Requirements

By means of an internal policy avoiding discrimination because of disability, educators, employers and institutional authorities, must sustain conditions of personal respect at work and study environments. Said internal policy must be designed to correct and prevent future acts of discrimination.

The employer must provide, without any form of discrimination, training opportunities so all the workers may improve their capacities.

The use of personnel selection mechanisms which do not adapt to the conditions of the applicant, to demand additional requirements with respect to those established for other applicants, and not hiring because of disability an otherwise idonous worker, constitute discriminatory practices.

The denial of access to means of production because of disability, will also constitute a discriminatory practice.

Accessibility Requirements

Mandatory technical specifications for new constructions or remodeling of existing buildings, parks, sidewalks, gardens, plazas, lanes, restrooms, and other public spaces, must be performed in compliance with the mandatory technical specifications issued by the corresponding public or private entities. All private buildings destined for public use must comply with the same indications hereinabove.

Public and private institutions must ensure that all information for public use is accessible for all persons, in accordance with the persons´ particular needs.

Sanctions for not complying with accessibility regulations. Construction authorities (the constructors) who do not comply with accessibility regulations contained in this law may be obliged, upon the victims request, to perform, at its own expense the necessary adaptations to ensure said accessibility right.

Costa Rica has defintions of ICT and reasonable accommodation.

Cultural Norms

Common vernacular includes: Inválidos” (invalids), “incapaces” (incapacitated), “minusválidos” (handicapped), “insanos” (insane) and “enfermos desvalidos” (infirm persons who are destitute or helpless). This language was used officially in 2014 in reports to the UN.

Government launched its first focus on women with disabilities in April 2015

Business Practices/Examples

Additional content coming soon.


The incidence of disability in Costa Rica is about 10.5% of the population although the 2000 Census indicated a lower rate of 5.4%.

May 28 is the Día Nacional de la Persona con Discapacidad (National Disabled People Day) to promote respect for disabled people.

The political party Accessibility without Exclusion (Partido de Acceso Sin Exclusión) has disability rights as a major policy, the party’s president and, as of the 2014 general election, only member of the Legislative Assembly is Óscar López.

Disability incliusion career fairs with Costa Rican and foreign companies are starting to make an impact.

Costa Rica has a Network on Inclusive Business and a national prize to recognize disability inclusive friendly companies. Companies affiliated with the Network of Inclusive Business hired a total of 421 persons with disabilities from 2012 to 2015.

Supplier Diversity

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

Certification is in place for LGBT-owned enterprises (NGLCC Network: La Cámara de Comercio Diversa de Costa Rica)

Talent Sourcing Resources

CONAPDIS promoting and overseeing compliance with the human rights of people with disabilities, to promote their inclusive development in all areas of society.

Ministry of Work and Social Security Responsible for sourcing candidates for disability inclusion in the workplace. Mr. Andrés ROMERO RODRÍGUEZ, Director of National Employment Directorate, Ministry of Work and Social Security.

AED’s Red de Impresas Inclusivas: “The Inclusive Business Network”, a coalition of companies working to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities. and details here.

Additional Resources

Costa Rican Federation of Organizations of People with Disabilities – Federación Costarricense de Organizaciones de Personas con Discapacidad (FECODIS)

National Network of Disabled Peoples Organizations – Red Nacional de Organizaciones de Personas con Discapacidad de Costa Rica

The Institutional Program on Disabilities ( PRODIS ) has as its goal the coordination of disability-related programs, projects, and activities at the University of Costa Rica in order to strengthen the full exercise of the rights of people with disabilities.

The Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons With Disabilities and their Families (RIADIS) is a network formed by organizations of persons with disabilities from 19 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Formed in 2002, RIADIS represents national DPOs as well as several NGOs acting as technical collaborators.


The 2nd edition of the employment fair at the “Universidad Latina de Costa Rica”, at its campus in San Pedro de Montes de Oca, had a remarkable attendance this month. On this opportunity, a group of 18 companies opened up 200 job opportunities for people with disabilities.

National Disability Inclusion Plan has a robust list of Costa Rican disability service organizations (English Version, here)

Poliitical Agenda for Women with Disabiltiies


Additional content coming soon.
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