Accommodation: a gradual return to work over two years amounts to undue hardship

Release date: April 1st, 2015

A medical technician challenged the employer’s decision to reject a two-year gradual return to work. The employee was absent from work due to an adjustment disorder which was apparently related to her family duties and to chronic marital problems. On numerous occasions, she declared herself unable to work more than two days a week, and the doctors shared this view. According to the arbitrator, allowing the employee to return to the workforce two days a week, on weekends, for one year, then three days a week for six months and four days a week for six months, to finally get to a full-time return to work two years later, amounted to undue hardship. On one hand, the evidence showed that the employer was facing recruitment problems. Also, the employer’s size and geographic location did not give him the flexibility required to accept the employee’s gradual return to work. Consequently, the grievance was rejected.

Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 3561 v. CSSS du Témiscamingue 2014 QCTA 937, DTE 2015T-4, Richard Guay Esq

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