If I get fired after becoming disabled, is that discrimination?
Not necessarily. Your employer’s duty to accommodate doesn't protect you from being let go. If your disability prevents you from performing your job, your employer may have no choice.
For example, say you’re an airline pilot. You have an accident that leaves you blind in one eye. Now you’re no longer qualified, by aviation law, to perform the job. No accommodation by your employer would change that.
However, your employer must do what they can for you, up to the point of incurring undue hardship. For example, they may have to install an assistance device in the workplace. If they fail to do so, you may have a human rights claim against them. See the “What you should know” section, above.
Can my employer ask me to get an “independent medical exam” before agreeing to accommodate me?
If the information provided by your own doctor isn’t sufficient to establish that the requested accommodation is necessary, or there is some other reasonable basis for additional information, your employer can request an “independent medical exam” from a different doctor. Your employer should only ask for this to help figure out what accommodation you need, and only if the medical information from your own doctor isn't sufficient.
Your employer isn’t supposed to ask for this:
- as a way of questioning whether you need accommodation
- to avoid giving you accommodation
See the “What you should know” section above for more on what information your employer can ask you to provide.
I use a wheelchair. Does my employer need to install ramps at my workplace?
It depends. Your employer is required to accommodate you up to the point of undue hardship. If your employer is a small company with limited funding, the cost of the renovations to install wheelchair ramps might be prohibitive. But installing ramps may not cause undue hardship to a larger, profitable company.
You should also be open to other reasonable solutions, short of ramp installation. Suggest options to your employer that would work for you. Accommodation is a legal right that comes with a corresponding legal duty; all parties have an interest in working together to find a solution.