Accommodating Employees in the Alberta Workplace

Ryan Wozniak

August 16 2019

The Alberta Human Rights Act (AHR Act) prohibits discrimination in employment and other social areas based on a number of protected grounds, including but not limited to age, disability (physical or mental), race, marital status, and sexual orientation.

The AHR Act requires employers to accommodate employees with needs related to a protected ground, up to the point of undue hardship. This article provides a high-level overview of the key components of the duty to accommodate for Alberta employers.

Duty to Accommodate

For employers, the duty to accommodate means changing workplace rules, standards, policies, cultures, and/or physical environments to minimize or eliminate their negative impact on an employee’s needs related to a protected ground under the AHR Act. Examples of accommodation include but are not limited to:

  • Amending workplace policies
  • Revising aspects of an employee’s job
  • Providing rehabilitation programs
  • Reassigning an employee to a different job

Employers in Alberta are required to provide reasonable accommodation to the point of undue hardship. Undue hardship is the point at which the accommodation would result in onerous conditions for the employer (e.g., intolerable financial costs, serious disruption to the business, significant interference with the rights of other individuals or groups, etc.).

Violating the duty to accommodate can have serious repercussions for employers, including negatively impacting employee productivity and morale; in addition, an employee who has not been reasonably accommodated can make a complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission

Need help with the duty to accommodate?

Speak to our HR experts for guidance on best practices for accommodating an employee. We can also help you develop new accommodation policies and practices for your workplace. Call us at 1 (833) 247-3652.

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