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Your Rights As A Person With Disabilities In The Workplace Under The Employment Equity Act

Author: Jimmy Barron
Published:April 4, 2023
3 mins 46 secs

The Employment Equity Act (EEA) is a federal law in Canada that aims to achieve equality in the workplace by removing barriers to employment for designated groups, including persons with disabilities.

As a person with a disability, it’s essential to understand your rights and protections under this law.

The following are your rights as a person with disabilities in the workplace under the EEA.

The Right To Accommodation

Under the EEA, employers have a duty to accommodate persons with disabilities to the point of undue hardship.

Accommodation means that an employer must make changes to the workplace or job duties to enable a person with a disability to perform their job duties.

Examples of accommodation include:

  • Providing assistive devices, such as screen readers or hearing aids
  • Modifying workstations or equipment
  • Adjusting work hours or schedules
  • Reducing or modifying job duties

If you require accommodation in the workplace, you must notify your employer of your disability and provide medical documentation to support your request.

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The Right To Equal Treatment

The EEA prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in all aspects of employment, including:

  • Hiring
  • Promotion
  • Training
  • Pay
  • Benefits
  • Termination

An employer cannot refuse to hire or promote a person with a disability based on their disability.

They cannot provide lower wages or fewer benefits to persons with disabilities, nor can they terminate someone based on their disability.

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The Right To Confidentiality

Employers have a duty to keep medical information confidential and separate from an employee’s personnel file.

This means that an employer cannot share an employee’s medical information with others in the workplace without the employee’s consent.

An employer can only request medical information related to accommodation or medical leave.

They must keep this information confidential and separate from an employee’s personnel file.

The Right To Participate In the Workplace

The EEA recognizes the value of diversity and encourages employers to create a workplace that is inclusive and welcoming to all employees, including persons with disabilities.

This includes providing opportunities for persons with disabilities to participate fully in the workplace.

Employers must ensure that their workplace is accessible to persons with disabilities, including:

  • Physical accessibility, such as wheelchair ramps and accessible washrooms
  • Technological accessibility, such as screen readers and closed captioning
  • Communication accessibility, such as sign language interpretation and accessible formats of documents

The Right To File A Complaint

If you believe that your rights as a person with disabilities have been violated in the workplace, you have the right to file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC).

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The CHRC is an independent government agency that investigates complaints of discrimination under the Canadian Human Rights Act, including complaints related to disability discrimination in the workplace.

To file a complaint, you must first contact the CHRC and provide them with information about your situation.

The CHRC will investigate your complaint and attempt to resolve it through mediation or conciliation.

If the CHRC cannot resolve your complaint, they may refer it to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for a hearing. You can also contact a disability lawyer Toronto for further consultation.

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The Right To Employment Equity Data

 As a person with a disability, you also have the right to access employment equity data that is relevant to your designated group.

The EEA requires federally regulated employers to collect and report data on the representation of designated groups, including persons with disabilities, in their workforce.

You can request this data from your employer to better understand how your workplace is meeting employment equity targets and identify any potential barriers to employment or advancement for persons with disabilities.

This information can also be used to advocate for greater inclusion and accessibility in the workplace.

Employers are required to provide this information upon request, and they must do so in a manner that respects the privacy of their employees.

In conclusion, the Employment Equity Act provides important protections for persons with disabilities in the workplace.

It ensures that employers provide reasonable accommodations to enable persons with disabilities to perform their job duties, prohibits discrimination in all aspects of employment, and protects the confidentiality of medical information.

It also recognizes the value of diversity and encourages employers to create inclusive and welcoming workplaces that are accessible to persons with disabilities.

If you believe that your rights have been violated under the EEA, you have the right to file a complaint with the CHRC.

By understanding your rights and protections under the law, you can advocate for yourself and ensure that you are treated fairly and equally in the workplace.