A workshop by C. Kilfoil
(This course can be taught as a 2, 3 or 4-day version.)
Downloadable information about the course: “Disability Rights: The Duty to Accommodate in the Workplace”
On completion of this course, participants will understand:
- The concept of equality and of workplace discrimination and the legal protections against it;
- The relationship between contractual rights and legislated human rights;
- How an accommodation-seeker or her union can establish a claim of discrimination;
- How an employer can challenge such a claim of discrimination or, alternatively, defend itself against that claim;
- The meaning of the duty to accommodate and its relationship to changing notions of equality;
- The broad scope of, and the limits to, an employer’s duty to accommodate;
- The procedural aspects of the duty;
- The substantive aspects of the duty, as it relates to the accommodation of disabilities, including a variety of arrangements that are commonly negotiated or ordered by arbitrators as disability-related accommodations;
- How accommodating a workers’ disability applies to the discipline process;
- How accommodating a workers’ disability applies to the issue of excessive absenteeism and attendance management programs;
- The range of conditions considered as disabilities for accommodation purposes;
- The employers rights and responsibilities in the accommodation process;
- The unions rights and responsibilities in the accommodation process;
- The accommodation-seekers rights and responsibilities in the accommodation process;
- The role of medical information and worker privacy in the accommodation process.
Through applied exercises, participants will:
- Become aware of potential pitfalls in the process of accommodation;
- Feel confident in identifying and negotiating appropriate accommodations.
This course is an overview of the development of the duty to accommodate as it arises in employment. Using the BC Human Rights Code as a starting point, it reviews the concepts of discrimination, equality, and the legal and historical framework for the development of the concept of “accommodation”. It examines the relationship between (legislated) human rights and (negotiated) collective agreement rights; the scope of, and limits to, the duty to accommodate; the procedural and substantive aspects of the duty to accommodate; the process of establishing a prima facie case of discrimination; and the process of defending against such a prima facie case, which raises the issue of accommodation.
With an emphasis on the accommodation of disabilities, the course reviews the concept of disability; the procedural and substantive aspects of the duty to accommodate; the role of medical information in the accommodation process; and the rights and obligations of the Employer, the Union and the accommodation-seeker.
The course examines, through case law, just how far the parties must go before reaching “the point of undue hardship”, and de-bunks some of the common myths and misconceptions around the duty to accommodate, while offering practical solutions to accommodation issues.
Small group exercises are conducted in order to ensure that participants can apply their knowledge to real-life situations.