“A worker with a physical disability wants to return to work but is not physically capable of performing the existing duties of her position. She is also unable to perform any other available job in its entirety. Piecing together various elements of each of these positions is possible, though this is less than ideal as it will impact on productivity. When will accommodating her amount to ‘undue hardship’?”
“For religious reasons, one of our junior workers is unable to work the Friday evening shift. He would like to switch to the day shift, but does not have sufficient seniority to bump any of the incumbents. How do the seniority provisions of the collective agreement impact our duty to accommodate?”
Whether arising from allegations of workplace harassment, requests to accommodate physical disabilities or religious observances, or challenges to potentially discriminatory hiring practices, these issues must be handled with the utmost care.
Moreover, certain employment standards obligations – such as worker entitlements to various types of leave, as well as recent changes to workers’ compensation legislation that impose a duty on an employer to cooperate with returning injured workers to the workplace, can further complicate the issue. In unionized workplaces, these complications often flow from questions of seniority and other issues arising out of the collective agreement.
To address these concerns, our lawyers recommend an approach that emphasizes preventive measures and fosters a discrimination-free workplace. With this approach, we help develop and implement human rights compliant policies and internal complaints systems. We also frequently provide seminars, training and workshops for employers, managers and workers that are tailored to meet the needs of the organization.
Where human rights complaints arise, we help obtain mutually satisfactory resolutions so that negative publicity or litigating costly litigation complaints can be avoided. In the event that complaints are not resolved informally, our lawyers are experienced advocates at arbitrations, boards and tribunals.