Ottawa Employment Lawyers assisting with Disability, Accommodation & Benefit Claims

Employees with disabilities, or those who become disabled after starting employment, are entitled to respect for their personal dignity and fair and equal treatment under both federal and provincial human rights legislation. Employers are obligated not to discriminate against employees or job candidates with disabilities. Employers also have a legal duty to provide reasonable accommodations whenever possible. The process to bring a complaint of discrimination due to disability can be different depending on the nature of the employment and the status of the individual filing the complaint (for example, a job candidate versus an active employee). Knowing how best to approach a claim can be a challenge, which is why retaining a knowledgeable employment lawyer is key.

The employment lawyers at Champ & Associates are exceptionally experienced in all manners of human rights complaints and have assisted many clients with claims relating to disability in the workplace. They pride themselves on determining the best and most effective strategy to seek an appropriate remedy for each client, no matter their individual circumstances. They assist clients at all levels of employment, in both the public and private sectors.

Champ & Associates takes a unique approach to litigation. They seek to keep the process affordable for clients, so there is no external pressure to accept a settlement offer too quickly. They keep their clients’ long-term needs in mind, knowing that a quick settlement may not always be in their client’s best interests. In every case, they will find the best approach for the circumstances to get their client what they need.

An Employer’s Duty to Accommodate

In addition to the duty not to discriminate, employers have a positive duty to accommodate employees with disabilities. The accommodation must be individualized and can vary depending on the type of disability, but may include:

  • Changing an employee’s work schedule
  • Modifying an employee’s duties or offering an alternative position
  • Providing equipment or other resources to enable an employee to attain the required level of performance
  • Providing additional training to the employee

Employers are required to provide accommodations up to the point where it may cause the employer undue hardship. This concept is defined differently depending on the situation, but essentially, undue hardship means that an employer cannot refuse a reasonable accommodation unless it will experience a significant financial cost or risk to health and safety requirements. Business inconvenience or customer preference cannot meet the undue hardship standard. Accommodations can be temporary, such as a graduated return to work plan, or permanent, such as offering a new position where available. The duty to accommodate includes a good faith effort to explore alternatives that will assist the employee in meeting their work duties in a manner that respects their personal dignity, privacy, and autonomy.

Income Replacement Benefits for Disabled Employees

If an employee becomes disabled as a result of an injury suffered on the job, they may be entitled to benefits to replace their income through various federal and provincial programs. These benefits can help to supplement an injured employee for loss of income, future loss of income, retirement benefits, medical expenses, and more. Programs available to employees include:

  • Long-term disability insurance coverage, either provided through the employer or through private coverage for those who purchase individual plans.
  • Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) disability benefit, for those who became injured or disabled as the result of a work-related incident.
  • Canada Pension Plan (CPP) disability benefits for those who contribute to CPP and have suffered a mental or physical disability that prevents them from working.

Contact Champ & Associates in Ottawa for Representation for all Matters Relating to Disability and the Workplace

Disabilities, real or perceived, unfairly cause some employers to treat certain employees differently. If you have been passed over for a job or promotion due to an actual or perceived disability, you may have remedies available to you.

The lawyers at Champ & Associates have the experience and systemic knowledge to take on these challenges for their clients and win. They provide clients with an honest assessment of their matter and then develop a plan to secure the necessary remedies under the circumstances. To discuss your matter in confidence, please contact the firm by telephone at 613-237-4740 or reach out online.