What is Duty To Accommodate?

Duty to Accommodate in Employment (from the Alberta Human Rights Commission)

The duty to accommodate in employment refers to an employer’s obligation to take appropriate steps to eliminate discrimination against employees and potential employees. Discrimination may result from a rule, practice or barrier that has a negative effect on a person with a need for accommodation based on the protected grounds. An employer’s duty to accommodate is far reaching. It can begin when a job is first advertised and finish when the employee requiring accommodation leaves the job.

Accommodation in employment most often involves the protected grounds of physical or mental disability, religious beliefs, gender (including pregnancy), family status and marital status.

Some things to consider when accommodating employees include:

  • purchasing or modifying tools, equipment or aids, as necessary;
  • altering the premises to make them accessible;
  • altering aspects of the job, such as job duties;
  • offering flexible work schedules;
  • offering rehabilitation programs;
  • allowing time off for recuperation;
  • transferring employees to different jobs;
  • hiring an assistant;
  • using temporary employees; and
  • adjusting policies (for example, relaxing the requirement to wear a uniform).

For more information on an employer’s duty to accommodate, or to implement accommodation strategies, please contact our Employment & Inclusion team at (403) 265-5374.


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