In this time of rapidly changing circumstances, neither the Human Rights Tribunal nor the courts have had time to weigh in on whether COVID-19 amounts to a disability. However, in my view as BC’s Human Rights Commissioner, it does.
One of the questions we are often asked is how much information should be disclosed to a respondent during an investigation. Some feel that respondents are more likely to provide honest and candid information if they are taken by surprise as opposed to having advance notice of the allegations and supporting evidence. The fear is that with the information, a respondent may have more time to concoct a story in response to the allegations and evidence.
Employers have a duty to accommodate employees suffering from mental illnesses. But distinguishing mental illness from ordinary anxiety is no easy matter.