New Diagnoses to Accommodate
As per the Alberta Human Rights Commission employers must provide a “reasonable” accommodation for both physical as well as mental diagnoses. This accommodation process is about to become increasingly complicated. According to the American Psychology Association there are newly added disorders to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Two specific disorders added include prolonged grief disorder and impairing Emotional Outbursts:
1. Prolonged grief disorder is stress or impairment that can occur up to 12 months after the death of someone close in which symptoms include anger, sorrow, bitterness, judgement, etc. and can be triggered by events, places or items that remind you of that person. Accommodation around this disorder can be tricky for example if an event or place creates symptoms for someone say a delivery truck driver on a route passing their favourite restaurant and is triggered by said place they use to go to with this passed loved on, an accommodation of the route driven is required.
2. Emotional Outbursts are displays of anger or distress manifested verbally (e.g., verbal rages, uncontrolled crying) and/or behaviorally (e.g., physical aggression toward people, property, or self) that lead to significant functional impairment. This type of disorder my become challenging to accommodate in instances where you need to differentiate insubordination or poor performance versus the disorder.
As the diagnoses list expands it becomes more challenging for employers and the duty to accommodate becomes and increasingly important legal consideration. It is imperative that there is a procedural process in place to help employers determine whether or not an accommodation is required and then what substantive accommodation they need to offer such as modified hours, modified work location or space.
Red Rock HR Ltd. can help you implement an accommodation policy and procedure to ensure your organization remains legally compliant. Ask for more details.