I have an employee in Alberta who frequently calls in sick, including twice on Mondays because of injuries he suffered while playing soccer over the weekend. Can we ask him for a doctor’s note? Do we have to accommodate him considering his injuries aren’t due to work?
Yes and Yes.
Human rights laws ban disability discrimination and require employers to accommodate injured employees to the point of undue hardship regardless of whether the injury is work-related. The operative question, then, is NOT whether the injury is work-related but whether it’s a disability. For that reason, you can ask for a doctor’s note assessing the employee’s capabilities and providing a prognosis (but not a diagnosis). If the note is satisfactory, you should treat the absence as non-culpable. If, however, this keeps happening, you might need to activate the assessment and accommodations process.
The good news is that the new Alberta mandatory workers’ comp return to work provisions under Bill 30 cover only work-related injuries and thus don’t apply to the employee’s weekend soccer injuries.