Principles & Policies for Managing Human Resources

3.1.3  Reasonable Accommodation

POLICY

The Manitoba government will provide reasonable accommodation to employees to address work-related needs arising from protected characteristics as outlined in The Manitoba Human Rights Code (the Code) – see Definitions.


RATIONALE

Accommodation is important for many reasons, including ensuring employees are working in an environment that is diverse and inclusive. In some cases, accommodation is also a legal requirement and failure to accommodate to the extent required by law means that a person or organization may be in violation of the Code. Reasonable accommodation is about making adjustments in the workplace to remove barriers based on a protected characteristic to enable an employee to continue to participate in employment (e.g. an employee with a disability requests to have their workstation modified so they can continue to perform their work).


APPLICATION

This policy applies to all employees of the Manitoba government and covers all aspects of employment. This includes accommodation requests made by an employee while at work or while on leave (e.g. medical leave) and an accommodation is required to return to work. Reasonable accommodation also applies to external candidates seeking employment with the Manitoba government.


PRACTICES

An employee is to make a request for accommodation in writing to their supervisor. If an employee or external candidate requires an accommodation for a position they are applying for, the accommodation request should be made in writing to human resources.

When a request for accommodation has been received, it is recommended that the supervisor contact human resources to discuss the request to ensure requirements are met.

Where there is a duty to accommodate, the employer is ultimately responsible for determining the reasonable accommodation to be offered to the employee. The employee has a responsibility to actively participate in the accommodation process, and to immediately advise the supervisor if the accommodation requirement changes. Supervisors must ensure that all accommodation requests and measures offered and/or implemented are appropriately documented.

Supervisors also have a responsibility to recognize situations where a medical condition may be affecting an employee’s ability to perform all or some of their duties, or is placing them or other individuals at a health and safety risk. In these situations, the supervisor must take reasonable steps to inquire about the employee’s potential need for accommodation and follow up accordingly.

There is a limit on the accommodation that an employer must provide. Employers may have to endure some hardship in accommodating an employee, but the hardship on the employer should not be overly excessive or undue. Specific factors are used to assess if there is undue hardship, including excessive financial costs and if the accommodation will create a health and safety risk for others. See the definitions for a list of other factors considered in determining undue hardship.

For further information about the accommodation process, or if considering submitting a request for accommodation, please refer to the following guides (available through intranet access):

Reasonable Accommodation – Supervisor Guide


Reasonable Accommodation – Employee Guide

Frequently Asked Questions


PRIVACY/CONFIDENTIALITY

Personal and personal health information obtained through the accommodation process is protected by The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA). All parties involved in the accommodation process must treat information pertaining to an employee’s request in a confidential manner. Only the information necessary to determine what accommodation is possible should be collected, and this information should only be released to those who need to know it to implement the accommodation.


ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

To ensure reasonable accommodation, there are responsibilities of employees, supervisors, human resources and unions (if applicable). For additional information, please refer to the supervisor guide and employee guide.

Employees

  • Communicate the need for accommodation in writing without assuming the employer knows about the need for accommodation.
  • Cooperate with the employer in a timely manner by providing all relevant and appropriate information to support the request for accommodation. This may include providing the employer with relevant medical information and/or the necessary authorization to communicate with relevant professionals, such as medical professionals, where necessary.
  • Actively participate and cooperate in the search for and implementation of a reasonable accommodation, including working with all parties whose assistance is required to implement the accommodation.  
  • Make reasonable attempts to succeed in an accommodation, including meeting the agreed-upon performance standards after reasonable accommodations have been made.
  • Advise the employer if the accommodation requirement changes (e.g. restrictions may have been removed or added) and/or if the agreed-upon accommodation is not working as intended.

Supervisors

  • Assess a request for accommodation and seek additional assistance from human resources as required.
  • Inquire regarding an employee’s potential need for accommodation in situations where there is reason to suspect a medical condition may be impacting an employee’s ability to perform some or all of their duties.
  • Request additional information from the employee, and/or other experts, when further information is necessary in order to respond to the accommodation request.
  • Work with all parties to identify and, where possible, offer a reasonable accommodation.
  • Implement and monitor the accommodation process as required.
  • Document the entire accommodation process, including all efforts made to identify possible accommodations, all accommodations considered, and why some were rejected (e.g. not considered reasonable).
  • Process requests for accommodation in a timely and confidential manner.
  • Participate in an accommodation plan of a new employee assigned to the work area.

Human resource practitioners

  • Advise supervisors and employees on the application and interpretation of this policy.
  • Support the accommodation process as needed.
  • Ensure reasonable accommodation of employees during a selection process.
  • Engage specialized resources (e.g. Supportive Employment Services, Labour Relations) to support the accommodation process as required.

Unions

  • Assist with facilitating a reasonable accommodation, where needed.


DEFINITIONS

Protected characteristics: Protected characteristics under The Manitoba Human Rights Code include:

  • Ancestry, including colour and perceived race
  • Nationality or national origin
  • Ethnic background or origin
  • Religion or creed, or religious belief, religious association or religious activity
  • Age
  • Sex, including sex-determined characteristics or circumstances, such as pregnancy, the possibility of pregnancy, or circumstances related to pregnancy
  • Gender-identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marital or family status
  • Source of income
  • Political belief, political association or political activity
  • Physical or mental disability or related characteristics or circumstances
  • Social disadvantage

Reasonable Accommodation: A temporary or long-term adjustment to working conditions, duties, policies, rules, practices, programs, or the physical work environment to address work-related needs arising from a protected characteristic(s) identified in The Manitoba Human Rights Code, up to the point of undue hardship.

Undue Hardship: The limits of reasonable accommodation beyond which the employer does not have a duty to accommodate. Undue hardship is assessed on a case by case basis, considering various factors relating to the situation including, but not limited to, health and safety risk; disruption to collective agreements or other contract; financial costs; business efficiency; interchangeability of employees and facilities; impact on employees and service users; and workplace size.

 

REFERENCES

This policy should be read in the context of the following and any other applicable legislation and policies:


AUTHORITY

Replaces Reasonable Accommodation Policy: dated May 13, 1998 (CSC 2-98/99)
Reviewed Date:
April 11, 2007
Updated Date: April 25, 2019


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