The WSIB’s new Work Reintegration (WR) policies provide that employers have a duty to accommodate an injured worker’s return to suitable work. Make sure you understand what your accommodation obligations are, and how to meet them. The WSIB expects you to accommodate an injured worker if that will provide the worker with suitable work. The WSIB applies the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s “Policy and guidelines on disability and the duty to accommodate” in its decisionmaking process, so you should be familiar with the guidelines. Suitable work must be available, safe and within the worker’s functional abilities. You are not required to create a job that doesn’t exist. If safe work is available and needs to be accommodated the WSIB expects you to accommodate to the point of undue hardship. This employer obligation exists under the WSIA if you have a re-employment obligation to your injured worker, or independently under human rights legislation. If you refuse to accommodate the worker, the WSIB may impose a re-employment penalty or a noncooperation penalty, depending on the particular circumstances.
Good communication and cooperationbetween the workplace parties is essential.
When necessary, modify the work and/or the workplace to provide work that is
consistent with the worker’s functional abilities, and that accommodates the work
or workplace such as reduced hours, reduced productivity requirements, assistive
devices, etc. Adjust your return to work plan as needed. Return the worker to the
pre-injury job if he/she is ready to return to regular duties sooner than expected. If the
worker finds the work too challenging, you may need to remove certain duties or
prolong the duration of the modified job. Establish new target dates if the change in
job duties is extended. Document all discussions with the worker and the WSIB,
and all job offers to the worker, in writing!