Accommodating Disabilities in the Workplace
When an employee notifies the employer of a need for accommodation based on a protected ground in the human rights legislation (often a disability) that impacts his or her ability to work, the employer is required to accommodate that condition up to the point of undue hardship.
How To Fulfill Duty to Accommodate
To fulfill its duty to accommodate, the employer may be required to make changes to the physical environment the employee’s work duties or work schedule, or to workplace policies, standards, or procedures, in order to ensure that they do not negatively impact the employee. For example, the employer may be required to install a wheelchair ramp in the workplace, eliminate the requirement of the employee to carry heavy boxes, or allow the employee to work from home. The goal is to allow the employee to be able to perform his or her work in a similar manner to other employees who are not experiencing the same disadvantage.
The employee is required to cooperate with the employer’s efforts and provide the necessary information for the employer to determine what accommodations are required. We advise our clients on what information an employee must provide to the employer and what information can be withheld.
We also advise employers and employees in requesting and responding to requests of accommodation.
The duty to accommodate may also arise in situations involving unions or its members, landlord/tenant issues, or denial of service to customers, etc. We advise clients with respect to all human rights related matters.