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Accommodating disabled workplace

In its award, the board said it is not sufficient for the employer to show that its employee could not perform any of the current job descriptions.

It must also be able to show that the job descriptions cannot be altered without undue hardship: "The duty to accommodate requires more than determining that an employee cannot perform existing jobs.

But this much is clear to date: The duty requires more from the employer than simply investigating whether any existing job might be suitable for a disabled employee.

Rather, the employer is expected to determine whether other positions in the workplace are suitable for the employee or if existing positions can be adjusted, adapted or modified for the employee.

The footnotes from Professor Lynk's article have been removed from this publication. The Employer's Duty to Accommodate The essence of the duty is simple to state: Employers in Canada are required to make every reasonable effort, short of an undue hardship, to find an accommodation for an employee with a disability.

If the employee cannot, then determine if he or she can perform another job in its existing, modified or "re-bundled" form. The Extent of the Employer's Duty The considerable weight that the duty places upon the employer is demonstrated in a recent award from Alberta.

In Calgary District Hospital Group, a nurse with a back-related injury was preparing to return to work.

Her back injury had left her unable to perform several key aspects of her regular position, including the lifting and transferring of patients.

Whether accommodation would amount to undue hardship entails a spectrum of considerations, including, but not limited to: (i) financial cost, (ii) disruption of a collective agreement, (iii) problems of morale of other employees, (iv) the interchangeability of the workforce and facilities, (v) safety, and (vi) the size of the operations.

The costs of accommodation should be compared with the resulting benefits in deciding whether the hardship caused by accommodation is "undue".

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The employer had determined that because of her physical limitations, it was unable to place her into another nursing position.

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