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Workplace Accommodation

Category: Employment
Number: EMP-080-005
Audience: All University employees
Issued: January 15, 2009
Revised: November 08, 2019
Owner(s): AVP (Human Resources)
Approved by: VP (Administration)
Contact: Director, Health, Safety & Wellness - 306-585-4776 (Medical Accommodations); Director, Faculty & Staff Relations - 306-585-4165 (Religious and Family Status Accommodations)

Introduction

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • provide structure for the accommodation process and enhance the understanding between employees and administrators when an employee requires a workplace accommodation;
  • clarify roles, responsibilities and accountabilities for all persons involved in the accommodation process;
  • outline the process for initiating and implementing a workplace accommodation for employees who have documented medical, religion-based, or family status accommodation needs.

This policy does not apply to modifications to an individual's job responsibilities to address a personal preference.

Definitions

Policy

The University will work to achieve a reasonable accommodation for employees, subject to bona fide occupational requirements and to the point where it causes undue hardship for the University. Accommodation is a shared responsibility between the University, the Employee, and any applicable Union. Employees requesting accommodation will be involved in the development of accommodation measures and have the responsibility to communicate any accommodation needs, provide appropriate information required to substantiate the need for accommodation, and to cooperate with the University and participate throughout the accommodation process. The relevant stakeholders will work collectively to identify a reasonable accommodation for which the employee is qualified and which meets the restrictions of the employee. The University recognizes the employee and the administrator will be most knowledgable in the employee's job tasks and therefore are best suited to contribute to develop an appropriate accommodation plan.

The University is committed to:

  • ensuring accommodation requests are considered on an individual basis, and reasonable accommodation plans are developed taking into account (i) the Bona Fide Occupational Requirements associated with the position, (ii) the restrictions and/or proposed accommodations based on current and relevant medical documentation, and (iii) undue hardship;
  • developing (jointly with the employee, administrator, licensed practitioner or religious authority) a reasonable accommodation plan that promotes integration and full participation and respects confidentiality.

Principles

The fundamental principles of this policy include:

  • shared responsibility among relevant stakeholders involved, including the employee, any licensed practitioner, any religious authority, the Administrator, Human Resources and any Union. All parties must work together to support a reasonable accommodation plan;
  • employees must be able to meet the Bona Fide Occupational Requirements of their work;
  • confidentiality and employee privacy is maintained. Employees may engage their applicable union at any point in their efforts to secure a reasonable accommodation;
  • a reasonable accommodation will be provided subject to the limitation of causing undue hardship to the University. Undue hardship must be assessed in the circumstances of each case. In determining whether or not there is undue hardship, the University may consider, among other things:
    • financial cost to the University as a whole (not to a unit, program, or department);
    • significant disruption to operations;
    • health and safety concerns;
    • substantial interference with the rights of other individuals or groups; and
    • Bona Fide Occupational Requirements
  • employees needing an accommodation are entitled to a reasonable accommodation, not a perfect accommodation or the particular accommodation they request.

Roles and Responsibilities

Employee requiring accommodation will:

  • make a request in writing for accommodation to their direct administrator and inform Human Resources;
  • provide, in a timely manner, the University with information related to current capabilities, limitations or restrictions and if the restriction(s) is/are temporary or permanent in nature;
  • participate in communication with their direct administrator, Human Resources, and licensed practitioner or religious authority;
  • complete the required documentation (e.g. Attending Physician's Statement, or information request letters) and return it to Human Resources in the prescribed time frame;
  • follow all treatments and rehabilitation prescribed by the licensed practitioner;
  • cooperate and participate in the development and implementation of a reasonable accommodation plan based on restrictions;
  • participate in the accommodation process that meets their current restrictions;
  • not decline any reasonable offer of accommodation;
  • communicate any issues or problems with the accommodation plan to their administrator and Human Resources.

Administrators will:

  • familiarize themselves with the accommodation process and be aware of rights and responsibilities under this policy and the associated procedure;
  • in consultation with Human Resources, support accommodation arrangements;
  • be the first point of contact for their direct reports and have primary responsibility for determining reasonable and appropriate accommodation options;
  • be responsible for identifying the Bona Fide Occupational Requirements and performance expectations of the position;
  • maintain communication with Human Resources for development and follow-up of the accommodation plan as appropriate;
  • monitor the progress of the accommodation plan, and provide regular updates to Human Resources.
  • commit to the development of accommodation plans in accordance with the following hierarchy of accommodations:
    • Original position modified: attempt to accommodate the employee in their own position with the duties of that position modified.
    • Another position in the academic or administrative unit: attempt to place the employee in a suitable vacant position for which the employee is qualified.
    • Another position in the University: attempt to place the employee in a suitable vacant position for which the employee is qualified, elsewhere in the University.
    • Another position modified: attempt to place the employee in a suitable vacant position for which the employee is qualified, with the duties of that position modified.

Human Resources will:

  • provide accommodation-related education and information to the University community, and provide awareness of rights and responsibilities under this policy;
  • liaise with licensed practitioners, religious authorities, and third party insurance providers;
  • facilitate the development of reasonable accommodation plans with applicable stakeholders that are consistent with the restrictions of employees;
  • prepare a written accommodation plan and provide copies as appropriate;
  • audit the effectiveness of the accommodation plan on a regular basis;
  • review this policy on a regular basis or whenever there is a change of circumstance that may affect the accommodation process.

Unions will:

  • in cooperation and consultation with Human Resources, provide awareness to their union members of the rights and responsibilities under this policy and the associated procedure;
  • contribute to a respectful climate in the workplace and participate in and cooperate with the accommodation process as required;
  • participate in efforts to make accommodations possible.

Privacy and Confidentiality Statement:

The University is subject to the Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

At no time is the employee required to discuss their medical diagnosis with the administrator of the University. Human Resources may be required to communicate with the employee's licensed practitioner or religious authority; however, at no time will this occur without signed consent of the employee.

Consequences for Noncompliance

Employees who do not provide the necessary documentation to develop a fair and reasonable accommodation plan will be expected to perform their normal workplace duties.

Refusal by University Administrators to implement an approved Accommodation Plan could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of the member’s position with the University.

Related Information