If you are ill or injured and must take an extended period of time away from work as a result you may be worried about how this will impact your employment. Employees who are concerned about how illness, injury, or disability may affect them at work should note that, legally, an employer must accommodate you and cannot fire, discipline, or otherwise take action against you because you may be unable to work. Depending on the terms of your employment agreement, you may also have a variety of options available to you, including short-term disability and long-term disability benefits, which will assist you when you are unable to work.
At Sultan Lawyers in Toronto, our team of employment lawyers regularly advises employees on their options when they are too sick or injured to return to work. We can help ensure you are protected while you recover and will fight for your rights when needed.
Legally, an employer is subject to the duty to accommodate. Under the duty to accommodate, an employer is required to do whatever is necessary to accommodate an employee’s illness, injury, condition, or disability, to the point of “undue hardship”. Generally, this means the employee cannot be fired unless they can no longer perform the fundamental duties of their own job, or another job that is available in the workplace.
An employer must determine an injured or ill employee’s needs and limitations, determine what barriers may exist to them in their role as a result, and remove those barriers.
Examples of accommodation include:
The duty to accommodate also means that, in most cases, an employer must accommodate an employee’s disability or illness related leaves and cannot fire an employee who is on disability or sick leave.
If you are concerned that your employer is not accommodating your illness, disability, or condition, or you have been terminated while away on leave, you should consult with an employment lawyer as soon as possible. There are many steps you can take to protect yourself, including filing a human rights complaint, or suing your employer.
Ontario’s Employment Standards Act, which governs most workplaces in Ontario provides employees with various statutorily protected leaves that can assist if you or a family member are ill, and you have to miss work as a result, including personal emergency leave, domestic and sexual violence leave, family medical leave, critical illness leaves, and others. These leaves provide you with unpaid, job-protected time off to be used in the case of personal illness, injury, or medical emergency, or the illness, injury, or medical emergency of a child or other immediate family member.
In addition to the various leaves provided by the Employment Standards Act, many employment contracts come with benefit plans that may provide for other leaves including short-term disability leave, long-term disability leave, and others to be used in the event of illness, injury, or other medical emergency.
The Toronto employment lawyers at Sultan Lawyers regularly advice employees who require accommodation in the workplace, or who have been terminated due to a disability, chronic condition, or illness. We fight for your rights and ensure you are protected so that you can focus on your recovery and return to work. Contact us online or at 416-214-5111 for a consultation.
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