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Manager FAQ

I suspect that an employee may require an accommodation. How can I approach them about it?

You are responsible for providing workplace accommodations in a timely manner for your employees at any time, even if that employee does not make that need known outright. Therefore, you may need to initiate the accommodation process with your employee if you know, or reasonably should know, than the employee has a disability or functional limitation that might prevent them from successfully performing their job.

When an employee asks for an accommodation, can I ask for medical proof?

As a manager, you cannot ask for the employee’s diagnosis. If you require documentation to accommodate an employee, it should focus on the functional limitations that the employee is experiencing without disclosing the medical condition/diagnosis.

Am I allowed to fire a person with a disability?

Yes. If an employee with a disability has been provided with reasonable accommodations and is unable to perform the essential duties of the role, you may follow the same disciplinary procedures that you would use for an employee without a disability. Employers are required to accommodate up to the point of ‘undue hardship,’ which is invoked if providing accommodations would bring about unreasonable difficulties based on health, safety, and/or financial considerations.

I suspect an employee needs an accommodation but he/she has not requested one. Do I have a responsibility to address this?

Yes. According to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, although an employee may not have asked for an accommodation, as an employer you must accommodate employees who are showing signs of needing an accommodation. It is important to keep in mind that employees may be hesitant to disclose a disability and request accommodation due to fear of losing their job, stigma, etc.

As an employer, I'm having trouble agreeing upon accommodation(s) for an employee. Can I go to a third party for assistance?

Yes. In situations where accommodations cannot be agreed upon between parties, an outside source can be engaged to help determine what accommodations will suit the situation. A manager and an employee may have different views of what constitutes a ‘reasonable accommodation,’ or of what tools will help the employee perform their job. If this is the case, it can be beneficial to engage a neutral third party like JAS® to complete a workplace accommodation assessment.

I employ a person who is conducting themselves unprofessionally. I suspect that mental illness is a factor. How should I proceed?

I employ a person with a disability who is receiving accommodations. Other employees have complained that his is 'unfair treatment'. How can I explain without disclosing the disability?

Accommodations can raise issues about perceived ‘unfair treatment’ that an employee with a disability may be receiving. This is especially common when coworkers are not privy to underlying information, and/or not aware that the individual receiving accommodations has a disability. In this situation, it is crucial that the manager NOT disclose the employee’s disability and need for accommodation; to do so is a breach of confidentiality. As an employer/manager, if an employee inquires about why Employee X is receiving differential treatment, it is recommended that you state that you are adhering to the company’s policies in assisting an employee with workplace difficulties, and that all employees’ privacy must be respected.
ArrayIf an employee’s behavior is a workplace problem, we recommend that you meet with him/her privately to discuss their performance and any concerns you have. This discussion may help you determine whether or not mental health could be a factor. If so, this meeting is also an opportunity to encourage him/her to get professional help and/or to request accommodations while they address their mental health issue.


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