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HR Advice – The Duty to Accommodate Disability for Employees


Employee’s often struggle to effectively manage sickness absence, especially if the employee has a serious or chronic condition. All employer’s, regardless of size, have a legal duty to accommodate the needs of employee’s who have a disability and to give equal access to employees who are protected under the Ontario’s Human Rights Code. The duty to accommodate identifies that people have different needs and require different solutions. It means removing as many barriers that prevent people from gaining access and performing their daily work duties. An Employer cannot fire an employee based on their inability to perform work without first providing reasonable accommodations, up until ‘undue hardship’. Undue hardship means that accommodating the employee would place a significant difficulty or expense on the employer. The Code only considers cost, outside sources of funding or health and safety as main reasons for the cause of undue hardship. Undue hardship does not apply, because it would be inconvenient to the business, customer/staff complaints, rigid contracts or collective agreement or other peoples opinion.

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