Therefore, there is a greater expectation that the needs of people with disabilities will be taken into account when planning all aspects of a business.In this context, it will be harder for an employer to argue that removing a newly created barrier constitutes “undue hardship” even if it is a high cost. Instead, the test is whether the cost is so high that it would threaten the viability of the employer’s business or change the nature of the business.In some cases there may be a real health and safety risk that cannot be accommodated.For example, if someone is on medication that makes them drowsy it may be a health and safety risk to allow them to continue driving a truck.Please review with your provincial Human Rights Commission for further information. People returning to work after a disability absence have a right to accommodation.This may include alternative work as well as accommodation so they can continue in their original job.With the publication of an Enforcement Guidance document in March 1997, EEOC has sent a message to all employers, including fire departments, that they must look carefully at ways to accommodate employees who suffer mental impairments.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission has published guidelines to the duty to accommodate.According to the Canadian Human Rights Code, accommodation is required when an employee’s disability results in “functional limitations” preventing them from performing an “essential duty” of their job.Accommodations are “reasonable” so long as they don’t impose “” on the employer, and recent Supreme Court of Canada decisions have placed the burden on employers to demonstrate how providing accommodations will cause undue hardship (usually by compromising safety or jeopardizing the organization’s solvency.) Many people with disabilities, psychiatric or otherwise, won’t have functional limitations and so don’t need accommodation.This recent action underscores the need for employers (including fire departments) to take this law seriously.
The law protects those with physical or mental impairments against discrimination on the job and elsewhere.
We see its effects everywhere, from greater wheelchair accessibility in buildings to accommodations for those with a loss of sight or hearing.