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Workplace Accommodation Resources for Employees

What is accommodation? What employees need to know about accommodation

Accommodation refers to the modification of a work rule, practice, condition or requirement because you have a specific need based on one of the prohibited grounds of the Alberta Human Rights Act such as a disability.

The City as your employer has a duty to participate and cooperate in the accommodation process so that you are offered reasonable accommodation. A reasonable accommodation can be modifications in your own job, work in another position or combining job duties together thatmeet your functional abilities and restrictions.

An example of accommodation:

The need for an accommodation can really vary. It might be as simple as modifying some of your current job duties, or adjust work schedule/hours.  Other forms of accommodation include providing technical aids such as voice activated software. Alternatively, you may not be able to continue your current job based on an illness or injury. In this case we may look for a different position for you on either a temporary or permanent basis.

5 things you should know about work accommodation:

  1. The City of Calgary is committed to assisting injured or ill employees with a safe and early return to work. We are committed to sustaining an inclusive environment and accommodating you into our workplace is the right thing to do and what's expected at The City. It's the way we live our culture and demonstrate the 4 Cs.
  2. You as an employee play a key role by cooperating and being actively involved in the accommodation process by providing updated information about your abilities and restrictions to your leader. This information supports The City in finding a reasonable accommodation. Refer to the Accommodation Process Toolkit for details on your role and responsibilities within the process.
  3. An accommodation may be required based on a visible disability or one that may not be visible to others. This includes a limitation that others may not see. This doesn't make your need any less valid. There are myths around accommodation that are often based on unconscious biases.
  4. You are responsible for making your needs known to your physician, leader, union rep (if applicable) Return to Work Coordinator and/or Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant. You must be honest with them and with yourself on what you can and cannot do. Refer to the FAQs for more details on what information to provide.
  5. You have a duty to accept a reasonable offer of accommodation that meets your abilities and limitations. Understand that if you refuse to accept a solution that reasonably accommodates your needs, The City's obligation to accommodate may end. This depends upon the facts of each case and your union can provide you support with this step.

What's my role in workplace accommodation?

To participate in the development and implementation of your accommodation, or return to work plan, so we are better able to address your needs.

The City has created some tools to guide you through the accommodation process and clarify your role and responsibilities.

Accommodation Process Toolkit for Employees

This document outlines who is responsible for what, how the process works and what actions you need to take to make this all work.

Process to Identify Temporary Accommodation

Provides an overview of the process and each step for implementing and accommodation

Accommodation Checklist for Employees

Outlines your role and supports you to keep track of what you need to do as you move through the process

Accommodation Planning Worksheet

This worksheet helps you think about what work you can do while recovering and prepares you for discussing options with your leader.

Info sheet: What you need to know when your accommodation is outside your work area

Support you with steps that are unique to moving into a new work area.

Employee Resources List

Provides contact information and key links to support you.

Accommodation Myths

Accommodation myths and biases

Accommodation Process Toolkit: Employee’s Handbook

This document contains all the tools above for easy printing. Please note the checklists in this handbook are not digitally checkable and would be better for handwritten notes or Adobe comments.

Workplace Accommodation Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to tell The City why I need to be accommodated?

The City must balance the privacy interests of the employee and the information it needs as the employer.

You may be reluctant to share medical or personal information with contact at The City. For some employees, this information is private and they do not want it shared with anyone. Some employees are also concerned that their employer will not keep their information confidential, leaving them vulnerable to workplace harassment.

You need to provide some information to support a request for accommodation. As your employer, The City is entitled to sufficient information about your need to be accommodated, suitable accommodations and your prognosis.

The City may require a report from your doctor, which concentrates on the functional or other limitations that require accommodation. It should not recite the medical condition. If The City has concerns or doubts about the information, it may ask for another opinion or for an outside expert’s assessment. Even so, the focus is on how best to accommodate limitations, rather than the medical condition itself.

What Is The City entitled to know about my medical condition?

The City is only entitled to receive the information necessary to accommodate you. This includes expert or professional verification of your abilities and limitations which helps The City accommodate you, and a professional estimate of how long you will need to be accommodated. The City has no access to your diagnosis or treatment plan.

Who at The City has access to my medical limitations?

Information on your abilities and limitations is kept under strict confidence and shared with those who need to know to implement your accommodation. This may include your:

  • Vocational Rehabilitation Consultants (VRCs)
  • Return to Work Coordinators (RTWC)
  • Leader

What if I do not like the job I am presented with as part of accommodation process?

As part of your accountability in getting back to work, you are expected to explore options, participate in the development of the plans and accept a solution that reasonably accommodates your needs.

Understand that if you refuse to accept a solution that reasonably accommodates your needs, The City’s obligation to accommodate you may end. Depending on the facts of your case, your refusal could affect your continued employment at The City.

What can The City or my union tell other employees about my accommodation?

The City and your union must/are obliged to respect your right to privacy and confidentiality when it comes to workplace accommodation.

Other employees will be provided only with the information they need to work safely and efficiently with you. This may include details about the accommodation such as your duties, role or responsibility change. Often, other employees will only have the information they need to set up your accommodation.

During the accommodation planning process, both you and The City will discuss how much information will be disclosed to other employees. Doing so will help the parties to determine the minimum necessary disclosure.

I am reluctant to come forward with my need for accommodation as I have a mental health condition and concerned about how I may be treated. What are The City’s expectations to support me?

You may not want to disclose a visible or invisible disability to your supervisors or colleagues because of people’s unconscious biases. The accommodation planning process provides an opportunity for both parties to discuss how much information is disclosed. It also allows your work accommodation team to design an accommodation that raises the fewest questions or concerns in the workplace. Sometimes, however, there does need to be some disclosure for health and safety reasons. If this is required, you will be notified first.