Employer’s Duty to Accommodate

Both employees and employers should understand the duty to accommodate and the steps employers must take to ensure they fulfill their obligations under human rights legislation.

In Ontario, the duty to accommodate is an employer’s obligation to make reasonable modifications to job duties, hours, or other working conditions so that an employee with a disability can still perform their job.

The requirement is to search for a “reasonable” accommodation — not an “ideal” or “preferred” accommodation of the employee. A reasonable accommodation allows the employee to perform their job duties without causing undue hardship to the employer.

Employers should have policies to ensure they fulfill their duty to accommodate employees with disabilities. This includes having an open dialogue with the employee, gathering medical information where necessary, exploring possible accommodations, and monitoring the effectiveness of the accommodation over time.