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Employers must try to work with those with disabilities

It's possible for employers to fire workers who have become disabled in Alberta. There are just some situations in which a worker can no longer reasonably do a job; if the worker is supposed to type on the computer extensively, for example, a disability that impacts the hands may make such work impossible. The disabilities do not bar the employer from moving on and finding a new employee who can do the job in question.

However, it's important to remember that employers do need to make an effort. Those with disabilities should not just be fired outright before any action is done to see if they can do the job differently or if they can perhaps move to a different position.

For instance, a delivery driver who becomes paralyzed may no longer be able to drive, but that does not always mean nothing can be done. It may be possible for that employee to be moved to a desk job where he or she can still work and aid the company, despite the disability.

In other cases, accommodations may simply need to be made. This could include altering the workspace or providing a special setup for the disabled individual. Employers do not have to do this to the point that it becomes an undo hardship, but, in cases where small changes could easily be made, they are expected to try.

If you've been fired because of a disability and you believe your employer made no effort to work with you at all, be sure that you know exactly what legal rights you have and how you can seek compensation.

Source: Alberta Human Rights, "Termination and severance," accessed July 10, 2015

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