Ask the ExpertCategory: QuestionsLong-term illness and injury leave vs medical leave (Human Rights Act)
hri_Admin Staff asked 4 years ago

Hi, I work for the Indian Band and I have a question related to one of our staff member, who is not on benefits but he was on a medical leave. Band was paying when he was away form work due to his medical illness but band now decided not to pay him any more unless he brings a doctor\’s note stating he is fit to work and if there is any limitations or if needs to be accommodated or not. My question is, because he is diabetic and he lost his one leg and hand, and other hands finger are almost start falling down. He wanted to get back to work but i asked him for a doctor\’s note with all the limitations and what kinda of accommodation we can provide but he came up with a clinical doctor\’s note stating “(This patient wants to return to work. He cannot do any physical activities but can do supervision. There is no contra-indication for that sort of activity)”. But honestly speaking, this person is a Manager and his role requires more then supervision. What would you recommend in this Scenario? We are federally regulated and based in Alberta.

1 Answers
Glenn Demby Staff answered 4 years ago

First and foremost, I can offer you a personal opinion BUT NOT LEGAL COUNSEL. This sounds like the kind of situation that requires talking to a lawyer.
Having said that, I can suggest that you get a complete medical assessment of the employee’s capabilities and needs. Now that the accommodations process has been engaged, an informal doctor’s note isn’t enough. I’m assuming the employee isn’t in a union; but if that’s wrong, you need to get the union involved in the accommodations process.
Once you assess the employee’s assessments and needs, determine what, if anything, you can offer that’s suitable. Keep in mind that the accommodations process is bilateral. Your responsibility isn’t necessarily to make final decisions but to negotiate with the employee and his representatives. Work together to find a solution.
If the employee refuses to provide the needed medical information or cooperate in the accommodations process, you likely have ground to terminate–at that point, accommodations go from reasonable to undue hardship. But you need to document this very clearly and precisely. Another caveat is that there may be other facts or circumstances affecting the situation that I don’t know about. For all these reasons, TALK TO A LAWYER. Hope that helps and happy holidays. Glenn