Employers, Medical Certificates & the Accommodation Process
If an employee has a disability, you may need to accommodate them (something different than the other employees) to assist with their participation in the workplace.
If an accommodation is needed, you must work with the employee to plan an accommodation which allows them to work to the best of their ability and you to have your needs met.
In some cases, you may need medical information to determine what limitations the employee has and what needs have to be accommodated. Each case is unique.
Best practices suggest you should be prepared to pay the costs of medical reports required.
The following information should assist you to know what medical information it is appropriate to ask for.
You are entitled to the medical information that is “reasonably necessary”.
Determining what is “reasonably necessary” involves balancing your right to information with an employee’s right to privacy. When you ask an employee to provide medical information, you should consider the following:
Do you need the requested information to determine the employee's job capacities and responsibilities?
Do you need the information to accommodate the employee?
How will you protect the employee's privacy?
Does the information need to be shared with other people, who and why?
Available Medical Information
Generally speaking, you are entitled to the following:
Nature of the illness
Whether the illness or condition is permanent or temporary
If temporary, the estimated time frame for improvement to occur
Restrictions and limitations, and how long these might be impacting the employee
Any treatment or medication that might impact the accommodation or the ability to perform his or her job
A clear and unequivocal opinion as to the employee’s fitness to return to work
Doctor’s Opinion as to fitness to perform specific components of the employee’s job
The duration of any limitations or restrictions following the employee’s return to work
Prohibited Medical Information
Generally speaking, you are not entitled to the following information and an employee has the right to refuse to provide it unless, based on the specific facts, disclosure impacts the accommodation process or the employee’s ability to perform his job.