Network - Spring 2011 - (Page 39)

O Feature Duty to Accommodate – By Sushila Samy, CHRP Employee Responsibilities Preamble While employers have a legal duty to accommodate, every employee bears a responsibility in the accommodation process. The following article provides valuable insight to employers and employees as to what is expected from the employee’s perspective. It is for informational purposes. ccommodation means making changes to certain rules, standards, policies, workplace cultures and physical environments to ensure that they don’t have a negative effect on a person because of the person’s mental or physical disability, religion, gender or any other protected ground.”1 The protected grounds in Human Rights legislation are race, colour, religious belief, ancestry, place of origin, gender, age, marital status, family status, mental disability, physical disability, source of income, and sexual orientation. In the workplace, the duty to accommodate is a negotiation between the employer and the employee. Although the employer is required to accommodate the employee to the point of undue hardship, employees are “A expected to fulfil certain responsibilities. I have focused on the duty to accommodate physical and mental disabilities as this is the area, in my experience, with which employers and employees have the most difficulty. I outline below the steps an employee can take to make the process of providing an accommodation easier. 1. Initiate the Accommodation Discussion The employee requiring the accommodation must initiate the discussion. I suggest that when approaching the employer with a disability accommodation, the employee bring a medical certificate outlining the accommodation that is required. The medical certificate should include specific information on the accommodation that is requested. For example, a medical certificate that states “light duties” does not necessarily supply the employer with the information to provide the accommodation. Ask the physician to be specific so the employer understands exactly what is required. If you are an employee who does inventory and your work duties involve lifting heavy boxes of 10kg and you can now only lift 2 kg, the employer needs to know this requirement in order to accommodate. 2. Provide Additional Information When an accommodation request is made, the employer can request information on whether the disability is permanent or temporary, what restrictions or limitations the employee has and whether the treatment the employee will be undergoing will affect the employee’s ability to perform the position. If the employer does not have sufficient information to provide the accommodation, they can request additional information. The employee should be prepared to provide any medical information related to the disability that will allow the NETWORK O Spring 2011 O 39

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Network - Spring 2011

Network - Spring 2011
HRIA President’s Message
Legal Precedents Clarify Accommodation Procedure
Thank You!
Accommodation: Have a Plan and Stick to It
Disability Management and Duty to Accommodate: The Need for Good Documentation
Accommodating Disability, Not Bad Behaviour
Common “Mistakes” In Accommodation and How to Avoid Them
Case Studies: Managing Workplace Back and Neck Injuries
Accommodating Addictions in the Workplace
Duty to Accommodate – Employee Responsibilities
The Separation of Church and Work
When to Cut Sick Staff Off
The HR Office
Index of Advertisers

Network - Spring 2011