The Employment Standards Act requires employers to make reasonable efforts to alter the workplace so that it is more suitable for the employee’s needs in relation to their physical or mental disability, thus allowing the employee to properly carry out their work duties. However, the employer only needs to provide accommodation to the point of undue hardship.
While there is no specific definition of undue hardship, generally the concept refers to excessive hardship on the employer, considering factors such as financial costs, outside sources of funds, and health and safety requirements. The law makes it clear that other considerations such as business inconvenience, employee morale, and third-party preferences are not to be considered.
The following are some strategies that employers can consider when managing an employee’s disability:
- Create a safe space to ensure individuals can be open about their disability and related needs
- Modify working arrangements to the point of undue hardship
- Ensure accessibility for all is considered in the recruitment process
- Provide training for employees to increase awareness, eliminate biases, and avoid use of discriminatory language
- Ensure individuals with a disability have equal opportunity to work and equal pay
- Allow each disabled employee to control the terms of their own confidentiality and disclosure of their disability to other staff
- Teach employees appropriate ways to express concern and offer help to disabled employees.