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accommodation

Discrimination or accommodation?

Accessibility legislation in Ontario requires employers to communicate with employees and the public about the availability of accommodation for job applicants with disabilities in both the recruitment process and when making job offers. There is no duty to pro-actively identify an employee’s or candidate’s disability.

 

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Before the duty to accommodate, the duty to inquire

If the duty to accommodate is a well-known concept, the duty to inquire is a fuzzy notion. The principle is that an employee seeking accommodation for a disability is under a duty to disclose sufficient information to her employer to enable it fulfill its duty to accommodate.

 

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Reinstatement of employment at the Human Rights Tribunal

Reinstatement is the practice of re-installing an employee to his/her position as it existed prior to termination, or to the fullest extent possible, which may include the preservation of their pre-existing seniority, pension and other benefits.

 

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When can an employer ask for an independent medical examination?

The Ontario Court of Appeal has confirmed that in certain circumstances, it is reasonable for an employer to demand an Independent Medical Examination (“IME”) to determine whether an employee needs accommodation and if so, how. In August 2017, the Court denied leave to appeal the Divisional Court’s decision that found the employer was justified in requesting an IME as part of the process of accommodation.

 

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The curious incident of the sick dog and paid leave in the work day

Earlier in October news outlets reported that a woman in Italy had successfully petitioned her employer to allow her to use two days of paid leave to care for her sick dog, rather than use vacation allotment.

 

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Court comments on when employers can ask for an independent medical examination

Ontario’s Divisional Court recently confirmed that employers have a right to ask employees to undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME) in certain circumstances, to facilitate the accommodation process.

 

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The Canadian Human Rights Commission publishes Impaired at Work: A guide to accommodating substance dependence

The national epidemic of opioid abuse and overdoses is almost a daily feature in news media. Meanwhile, recent figures indicate that prescriptions for painkillers continue to increase in Canada. It is in this context that the Canadian Human Rights Commission recently released a new guide: Impaired at Work: A guide to accommodating substance dependence.

 

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Marijuana use remains cloudy

Canada legalizes marijuana

As laws regarding marijuana continue to evolve, even now employers are faced with ongoing legal questions concerning medical marijuana use in the workplace.

 

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The end of accommodation? Frustration of the employment contract as a last resort

One of the goals of legislation such as the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the Human Rights Code is to promote accessibility and accommodation in various forums, including the workplace. However, when it becomes clear that, despite accommodating an employee to the point of undue hardship, a disabled employee will never again be able to return to his or her job or be accommodated in another position, what can an employer do?

 

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Reasonable settlement offer prevents litigious complainant from proceeding

A recent decision of the BC Human Rights Tribunal serves as a useful reminder of the utility of a reasonable settlement offer, which can result in the Tribunal putting an end to complaint proceedings without a hearing.

 

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Family status: The employee’s obligation under “the Code”

The recent decision of Misetich v. Value Village Stores Inc. reaffirms that family status accommodation under the Human Rights Code is a joint obligation, involving both the employee and employer.

 

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Additional employer obligations? Domestic and sexual violence

As of the writing of this blog, Bill 26 has passed second reading and is before the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly for consultation and, so it remains to be seen if the above changes will come into force. That said, with the recent legislative attention on protecting employees with respect to sexual harassment and violence, it is likely that employers may soon need to revisit their policies and programs to account for domestic and sexual violence.

 

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The AODA Employment Standards: Are you meeting the new requirements?

We know that the AODA employment standards requirements are demanding because we have heard about the challenges from those organizations with 50+ employees that were obligated to comply in January 2016. Smaller employers with fewer resources may need additional assistance to keep track of the project, including reviewing, updating and implementing many HR forms and documents such as job offers, employment contracts, job postings and applications to ensure they are consistent with the new accessibility standards.

 

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Accommodation and when employees don’t engage in the process

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) released a very important development on family status discrimination, in a case that intersects with disability accommodation law. In Misetich v Value Village Stores, the tribunal reviewed the caselaw, including the Federal Court of Appeal’s Johnstone case, and clarified its test for accommodating family status requests in the workplace.

 

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Disability as a variable – A new optic

Looking at an Ontario Human Rights Commission discussion paper released in 2001, the aspects that make what is called intersectionality so appealing to a modern view of identity is that it does not pigeon hole a person as being represented by a sole code ground, or identity that is legally protected against discrimination.

 

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