When it comes to establishing a violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code a little dab of motivation will do you. The law has long been that if an employee is subjected to any kind of negative treatment which relates, even in part, to a prohibited ground of discrimination, a violation of the Human Rights Code is established as if it was the entire motivation.
If you are an employer contemplating terminating an employee who has been off a very long time on disability, it is extremely important that you fully investigate the possibility of accommodating that disability before pulling the plug. Even if it turns out that a proper investigation of the employee’s medical status and consideration of work available would not have changed the decision to terminate, you can still end up on the wrong side of human rights legislation.
Most employers are aware that when an employee has an injury or a disability, the employer has to try to accommodate them. Many employers, however, even very large and presumably sophisticated ones, are misinformed about the extent of their obligation.
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind recently appointed a sighted Chief Executive Officer. Some have been critical of this appointment; claiming that a sighted person could never truly appreciate the circumstances and challenges of a sight-impaired person. At its core, their argument is that unless someone has walked in the shoes of a sight-impaired person, they can’t really do the job.
QUESTION: I have developed a repetitive strain injury on one of my arms as a result of the work I do. I can go back to work but I can’t do the lifting over my head which forms about 20% of my job. Can I force the employer to allow me back to work do to the 80% of the job that I can do? Are they allowed to reduce my wages if they do this? Is the employer obliged to create a position I can do or put me into a position that someone else has which I can perform?
Christopher worked for a railroad company for 31 years. At the age of 51, he suffered from a significant episode of depression. Computerization was overtaking Christopher=s workplace and that was causing him stress and aggravating his depression.
QUESTION: I have been working for a company for 5 years that runs 10-hour shifts. A few months ago, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and for the last few months have had to sleep using a CPAC machine to prevent me from stopping breathing while I=m sleeping. My doctor became concerned that 10-hour shifts were too long for someone with my condition and gave me a note to give to my employer indicating that I could work only two 10-hour shifts a week and the other three shifts needed to be 8-hour shifts for a 44-hour total. When the company received the note, they hauled me into the office and told me they were putting me on short term disability. Can they do this?