What are the accommodation rights and responsibilities of employers, employees, and unions?
The employer should:
- Create an atmosphere in which employees are comfortable asking for accommodation. This means providing employees with information about the organization’s accommodation policy, and creating procedures that allow for the request to be made confidentially.
- Assume that the employee’s request is made in good faith.
- Work with the employee, and experts if necessary, to explore all possible accommodations.
- Maintain records of the request and steps taken to deal with the request.
- Respect the confidentiality of the information provided by the employee.
- Respond to accommodation requests in a timely manner.
- Require the employee to provide only that information which is necessary to develop an appropriate accommodation.
- Respond to requests for accommodation even if they are not made in a formal manner or using the term “accommodation.”
- Pay the costs related to accommodation including any medical certificates required.
- Ensure that managers are aware of their obligation to prevent an employee from being harassed in the workplace because of their disability. Accommodation should be done in a way that does not subject the employee to ridicule. The employee should also be assured that the organization will not tolerate any form of harassment.
- Ensure that progressive performance management processes are in place to identify and assist employees with disabilities prior to their disability leading to a performance issue.
The employee should:
- Tell the employer that they require accommodation because of a disability and, to the greatest extent possible, set out the type of accommodation needed. The employee does not necessarily have to advise the employer as to the specific nature of the disability, but they do have to provide enough information so that the employer can understand the accommodation needed.
- If requested, provide supporting documentation from a health care provider or other person in order to assist the employer in developing an appropriate accommodation.
- Work with the employer (and union, where applicable) to determine an appropriate accommodation. This includes working with any experts the employer has retained to assist with the accommodation.
- Meet all relevant job requirements and standards once the accommodation has been provided.
- Continue to work with the employer to ensure the accommodation remains effective.
Unions are required to:
- Actively participate in the accommodation process.
- Share responsibility with the employer to develop and implement accommodation.
- Support accommodation requests even where they are not consistent with the collective agreement unless it would create an undue hardship.