Under human rights law, all employers are subject to a duty to accommodate employees with disabilities up to the point that the duty imposes an undue hardship on the employer. The employer is allowed to discriminate in hiring or continuing to employ a person with a disability only if the employee or prospective employee cannot fulfil an actual, legitimate job requirement (a “bona fide occupational requirement”). This is a very high standard.

The employer’s duty to accommodate requires the employer to take steps to inquire into and inform itself about the extent of the accommodation you need. Therefore (as stated above) the employer may, depending on the circumstances, require general information about the current medical condition, the prognosis for recovery, a functional assessment of current abilities and limitations; and the extent and nature of your disability and how to accommodate you.

As the employee, you have a corresponding obligation to participate in the accommodation process if you want to be reasonably accommodated on the job. If you unreasonably withhold information that the employer is entitled to, you may risk not being accommodated properly or at all.

If you are seeking reasonable accommodation of your disability in your workplace, and you are not sure how much health information your employer is legally entitled to have, here are some steps you can take:

  1. If you are in a union, contact your union rep and seek assistance from your union;
  2. If you are not in a union, seek assistance from your human resources department, or, if that is not appropriate for you, try the following agencies:

If you are employed by a provincial government body or a business or non-profit association in BC look at the information provided by the BC Human Rights Coalition:.

If you are employed by a federal government institution or an organization that is subject to PIPEDA, look at the information provided by to the Canadian Human Rights Commission:

You might also consult an employment lawyer for legal advice: