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Disability and the Workplace

Disability and the Workplace

If you cannot perform all of the functions of your job because you suffer from a disability, your employer has a legal obligation to reasonably accommodate your medical restrictions to the point of undue hardship.  Disability includes physical illness or injury as well as mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or drug and alcohol addiction.   An employer cannot terminate your employment or otherwise penalize you because you need an accommodation as a result of your disability.   

If the employer fails to provide you with the appropriate accommodations,  if you were fired or believe your job is in jeopardy because of your health situation, contact Pak Smith Employment Lawyers.  If your rights were violated, you may be entitled to various remedies including financial compensation. We have successfully represented individuals in addressing accommodation issues, including settlement negotiations and if necessary, legal proceedings. 


What is a Reasonable Accommodation?

Accommodation is not a ‘one-size fits all’ solution.  It requires an individualized assessment of your specific needs and the nature of the job functions.  Accommodations can include a leave of absence, changes to your work schedule, increased break times, a work from home arrangement, modified duties, or changes to performance standards. 

Be aware that accommodation is a two way street. Do not assume or expect that your employer knows of your medical needs.  If you expect or need an accommodation, you have a reciprocal duty to cooperate in the accommodation process and provide your employer with adequate information pertaining to your medical restrictions.

If you require an accommodation, make your accommodation needs known to the employer.  The first thing you should do is obtain a medical note from your treating health professional outlining your medical restrictions.  Provide it to your employer.  Your employer is obligated to review and determine, based on the specific requirements of the job and the Company’s operational needs, how to tailor the job to accommodate your medical restrictions.  

If you are concerned about sharing your health information with others, ask your employer about who will have access to this information. The employer has an obligation to safeguard your health information.  If you are seeking an accommodation, the health information may need to be shared on a needs-to-know basis, in order to implement the necessary accommodation.  

Be aware that the employer’s duty to accommodate does not necessarily mean that the employer is required to provide you with your ideal or preferred accommodation, but to provide you with a reasonable accommodation, that enables your to meaningfully participate in the workplace.  


How is Pay Impacted?

If the accommodation entails a reduced work schedule, the employer is generally entitled to pro-rate your wages accordingly.  If you require a leave of absence for health reasons, be sure to review the Company’s short term disability or long term disability benefits, if applicable.  


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Pak Smith Employment Lawyers
140 Yonge Street, Suite 204
Toronto ON M5C 1X6
Email: info@paksmithlaw.com
Phone: 416-583-1920
Toll Free: 1-833-583-1920

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