Who is responsible for finding reasonable accommodation?
The primary responsibility for the process of reasonable accommodation is with the employer. The Canadian legislation provides or states that an employer has a duty to reasonably accommodate on an ongoing basis those with a disability unless the employer can prove undue hardship. The “duty to accommodate” means that employers must implement the necessary measures that will allow employees with limitations due to illness or disability to work to the best of their ability.
The employer, employee and the unions (if applicable) all have a duty to cooperate and be reasonable in the accommodation process. It is a legal right, but requires the employee to cooperate with the process.
For more information on the process, see provincial specific Human Rights Commission for different provinces and territories across Canada.
What are the responsibilities of the employer, employee, and union?
The responsibilities of the employer include:
- Designing workplace requirements and standards that do not discriminate against those with a disability.
- Requesting medical information from the employee’s doctor concerning the employee’s disability-related workplace needs.
- Accommodating individuals to the point of undue hardship. The first priority is the modification of the duties and practices related to the present position as recommended by medical reports.
- Showing that attempts to accommodate were serious, conscientious and genuine – “in good faith”.
- Employers must demonstrate their best efforts in ensuring that discrimination or harassment based on disability is not permitted on the part of either the employer or by co-workers.
The responsibilities of the employee include:
- Providing sufficient information to the employer so they are able to adequately assess how a reasonable accommodation can be made.
- Being cooperative and assisting in identifying and implementing an appropriate accommodation.
- Not expecting a perfect accommodation.
- Supplying job relevant medical information. This means non-diagnostic information only, such as the functional limitations and current capabilities.
- More info: Webinar Developing Effective Workplace Accommodations – Survivor, Provider and Employer Perspectives, Dr. Mary Stergiou-Kita
The union responsibilities amongst others are:
- Representing the employee.
- Working with the employee and the employer in accommodating the worker.
- Accept some modifications or exceptions to what is outlined within the collective agreement.
- Representatives must not interfere with reasonable efforts by the employer to accommodate the employee.
If you have a question about workplace accommodations, you may be able to find your answer at the Job Accommodation Network.