Puerto Rico

Region: Americas

Disability Definition

It shall also be understood that a person with disabilities, under the protection of this chapter, is any person whose disability substantially [limits] his/her performance in one or more of the main daily living activities, and who has a prior history of that condition, or is deemed to have said disability even if he/she does not have it. Person with physical, mental or sensory disabilities.— Shall mean any person with a disability of a motor, mental or sensory nature which hinders or limits his/her inception or ability to work, study or enjoy life fully and who is qualified to carry out the basic functions of that work or field of study, with or without reasonable accommodation. For the purposes of this chapter, a sensory disability shall be deemed to be one which substantially affects hearing, sight, the sense of touch, the sense of smell, and speech. Morbid obesity shall also be considered as such when said condition substantially limits a person in one or more of the principal activities of life, persons whose weight surpasses by one hundred percent (100%) their healthy and recommended weight by the general medical community.

Reference: P.R. Laws tit. 1, § 501


Puerto Rico Act No. 44 of July 2, 1985, P.R. Laws Ann. tit. 1 §§501 can be compared to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

“The ADA prohibits discrimination in the workplace against qualified individuals with a disability and it requires the employer to provide reasonable accommodations in employment to qualified individuals with disabilities who are qualified to perform the essential duties of their job, with or without reasonable accommodation. The employer’s failure to provide reasonable accommodation is also considered a form of discrimination under the ADA.”

Employer Legal Requirements

P.R. Laws tit. 1, § 505: Excerpts from this law

Private or public institutions shall not practice, put into effect or use discriminatory employment procedures, methods, or practices against persons with any kind of physical, mental or sensory disability just for the sake of said handicap

The application for employment or service shall not demand the applicant to indicate if he/she has or has previously had any physical, mental or sensory disability

Accessibility Requirements

As of July 26, 1994, all agencies, corporations, municipalities, and private enterprises of Puerto Rico that employ more than 15 disabled persons must “carry out reasonable accommodations in the workplace in order to ensure that qualified disabled persons will be allowed to work effectively and to the maximum of their productivity, except when the employer is able to prove that such reasonable accommodations would represent an extremely onerous burden for the enterprise in financial terms”.

P.R. Laws tit. 1, § 507a

Cultural Norms

Disability is looked at by the type of disability a person has. Usually it is broken down into six kinds:

Visual, Hearing, Ambulatory, Cognitive, Self-care, Independent living.

Business Practices/Examples

Additional content coming soon.


“In 2016, the employment rate of working-age people (ages 21 to 64) with disabilities in PR was 23.1 percent” while “the percentage actively looking for work among people with disabilities who were not working was 8.6 percent.”

“Among the six types of disabilities identified in the ACS, the highest employment rate was for people with a “Visual Disability,” 31.0 percent. The lowest employment rate was for people with a “Independent Living Disability,” 7.5 percent.”

Reference: 2016 Disability Status Report 

Supplier Diversity

Additional content coming soon.

Talent Sourcing Resources

Additional content coming soon.

Additional Resources

Job Accommodation Network: Puerto Rico Office of Advocate for Persons with Disabilities – Working to ensure protection of the rights of people with disabilities to achieve integration and effective participation in all spheres of our society

American Association on Health & Disability – Lists many resources available for disabled people in Puerto Rico.


Additional content coming soon.
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