In the interview process and in the workplace, persons with disabilities are entitled to access the same opportunities and benefits as those who don’t have disabilities. For some persons with disabilities, this means that certain adjustments need to be made in order for them to perform the duties of their job. Any such adjustment is known as an accommodation.
Employers have a legal “duty to accommodate - open in a new window” to ensure that those who are otherwise fit to work are not unjustly excluded where workplace adjustments can be made. You will be most productive when you are given the tools you need to do your job. Consider the following:
According to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC), employers and employees have specific roles and responsibilities for the process of accommodation.
If you request an accommodation at work, you are required to do the following:
A person with a disability is not required to disclose their disability if they can perform their work without an accommodation, and they do not pose a danger at work to themselves or others.
Employers have an obligation to accommodate all disabilities up to the point of “undue hardship” according to the OHRC. The factors that determine if an accommodation would cause undue hardship are cost, outside sources of funding (if any), and health and safety regulations (if any).
Employers are required to do the following:
An employer is allowed to ask questions about an individual’s ability to perform the functions of the job, but does not have the right to ask for specific information about the disability such as the name or diagnosis.
Typically, the employer does not have the right to your confidential information, unless the information clearly relates to the accommodation you are requesting or your needs are complex or unclear and more information is needed to make a proper assessment. They can ask questions about your ability to perform the functions of the job, but cannot ask for specific information about the disability such as the name or diagnosis.
If you’re starting co-op, a placement, or a new job, you might be asking yourself, “How do I know what accommodations I need?” Perhaps you have recently acquired a disability or are simply unaware of how your disability will impact your ability to do a job.
You will be the first to know what you need. A good starting place is to think about the academic accommodations you’ve received in the past to see how they might transfer to a workplace setting. You can also talk with your employer and come up with solutions together. Here are some resources with examples of potential accommodations: