It is part and parcel of a retail employee’s job to interact with customers and assist them in making purchases. However, if an employee with a disability/injury has trouble in performing this essential duty, how far must the employer go in accommodating that employee?
A recent Human Rights Tribunal decision dealt with an interesting accommodation request by an employee with a wrist injury. That employee requested that she should be allowed to tell customers (when working alone) that they had to return to the store at a later date so they could be assisted by another employee who did not have her physical restrictions. Thankfully, the Tribunal found in favour of the employer. It was an essential duty of the position to be able to assist customers and telling customers that they had to go away and come back later was unreasonable in the circumstances.