Many employees and employers ask “what are my obligations?”, “what are my rights?”, “what exactly is required of me?” when it comes to workplace obligations. The answers to those questions often will depend on many variables and special considerations.
Employers’ workplace obligations
Employers have a duty to accommodate employees seeking accommodation in the workplace. The duty to accommodate is required to address an employee’s special needs often arising due to illness, disability, and both physical and mental health conditions. This can include adapting an existing job to the employee’s needs, following a return to work plan of a doctor, abiding by terms set out by an insurance provider, or providing an alternate function for an employee. The duty to accommodate must be met even if it is inconvenient or at a potential cost to an employer. This duty however can be limited in specific circumstances.
Employees’ workplace obligations
An employee seeking accommodation also has an equal duty to follow return to work plans and to abide by the workplace accommodations put in place by the employer. Failure of an employee to fulfill their duty may lead to serious consequences for the employee and may in some cases justify termination of the employment contract.
Navigating the duty to accommodate can be difficult, but guidance from a trusted employment law lawyer that’s tailored to the dynamics of your workplace and the specific needs of your employees can assist in ensuring that you are moving in the right direction.