LegalPoint Videos

Human Rights and Accommodation with Peter Straszynski - Torkin Manes LegalPoint Video

Featuring Peter C. Straszynski

Peter Straszynski discusses human rights and accommodation as part of the Torkin Manes LegalPoint Video Series.

Question: What is a Request for Accommodation?

If you are a business owner, chances are that you or your staff have had an employee make the following type of request:

• perhaps a request to take time off work;

• or a request to change hours of work; or

• maybe a request to change or modify duties

Depending on the employee’s reason for making this request, it may be characterized as a request for "accommodation".

Common requests for accommodation include the following:

• a request to take time off work due to illness or injury;

• a request to modify duties due to pregnancy; or

• maybe a request for a different shift due to family care responsibilities.

Question: Must I grant all Requests for Accommodation?

As an employer operating a business in Ontario, you have a duty to accommodate an employee’s needs when they are related to certain protected grounds.

The duty to accommodate requires that the most appropriate accommodation be determined and undertaken, short of undue hardship.

When assessing undue hardship, factors include cost, outside sources of funding and health and safety.

It is very important in this process to avoid jumping to conclusions.

Even where the best solution might result in undue hardship, there is still a duty to take next-best steps until more ideal ones can be put in place.

Everyone involved must share relevant information and explore solutions together.

In some cases, obtaining further information from an expert is advisable.

Question: What are the consequences for failure to accommodate?

The consequences for an employer who has failed in its duty to accommodate can be very costly. In some cases, it may result in a finding that your organization has breached applicable human rights legislation with the possibility of substantial damages being awarded.

Q. What should I do to prepare my business for accommodation requests?

As an employer, you must take steps to ensure that your organization is familiar with its duty to accommodate. This can be achieved by creating effective policies and training programs for your staff.

If your company should have questions about its duty to accommodate a particular request or you’ve already received a complaint related to an alleged failure of your duty to accommodate, please contact us.

Related Videos

Marijuana and the Canadian Workplace - Peter Straszynski – Torkin Manes LegalPoint Video

Peter C. Straszynski Peter Straszynski explains the workplace challenges of accommodating the legal use of marijuana for medical purposes, and recommends a number of steps...
Sep 22, 2016

Working from Home – Legal Issues You May Not Have Considered - Tom Stefanik – Torkin Manes LegalPoint Video

Thomas A. Stefanik Tom Stefanik discusses a number of key legal issues that employers should consider when deciding whether or not to allow employees to telecommute...
Sep 22, 2016

Gender Identity and Expression in the Workplace – Peter Straszynski – Torkin Manes LegalPoint Video

Peter C. Straszynski Peter Straszynski describes the recently-recognized rights of trans people and outlines a number of steps employers can take to ensure that their work...
Sep 21, 2016