Good to Know Your Rights

Disability (which includes invisible disabilities, such as cognitive, behavioural or learning disabilities, and mental health issues) is one of the eleven forms of discrimination that are prohibited under the Canadian Human Rights Act. Employers have a duty to accommodate employees to avoid such discrimination (up to the point of "undue hardship," taking into account health, safety, and cost).

As an employee, in order to receive these accommodations you are expected to:

  • Communicate the need for accommodation and not assume that the manager knows or should have known about the need.
  • Cooperate with the organization by providing relevant and appropriate information to support the request for accommodation.
  • Cooperate by undergoing a health evaluation or assessment, if appropriate, to support a request for accommodation. The employer is entitled to receive relevant information to find suitable accommodation (a refusal to allow the employer to obtain the necessary information could be a deciding factor in determining whether the employer has met its legal responsibilities pertaining to the duty to accommodate).

Some provincial human rights codes limit the factors that can be considered. For example,"undue hardship" under the Ontario Human Rights Code may be more restricted than it is under human rights legislation in other jurisdictions. Other criteria such as employee morale and the collective agreement between the employer and union may also be taken into account. It is important to remain up to date with the criteria in your jurisdiction as they evolve.