The Complainant started working for the Respondent employer as a human resources advisor. Due to her poor health, she worked part-time for a period of time, when she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis. She commenced medical leave the following month, until her employment was terminated. During this time, the Complainant maintained regular contact with the Respondent employer and provided the required documents and doctors’ notes to extend her medical leave.
The Complainant subsequently brought a complaint to the Yukon Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”) alleging that the Respondent employer discriminated against her on the basis of her disability. An investigation was conducted by the Director of Human Rights. The Commission dismissed her complaint. The Complainant brought the case to the Supreme Court of Yukon (“the Court”) to appeal the Commission’s decision.
The Court considered the investigation report. The report found prima facie discrimination – discrimination that was apparent at the first blush. However, the report also stated that the Respondent employer accommodated the Complainant to the point of undue hardship, but that Complainant did not meet her duty to facilitate the accommodation. The Court did not agree with this conclusion. Section 8(1) of the Yukon Human Rights Act (“the Act”) requires an employer to reasonably accommodate for the special needs of those with disabilities. This duty only ceases to exist if it would cause undue hardship to the employer. In this case, the Court found that though there were some hardships established, there were none that could amount to “undue hardship”.
The Court also concluded that there was also an issue of procedural fairness. The investigation report provided by the Director of Human Rights did not meet the requirement of investigative thoroughness. The investigator did not investigate important medical evidence nor the measures implemented by the Respondent employer to accommodate for other employees on medical leave.
Ultimately, the Court concluded that the Commission’s decision should be quashed. It ordered that the complaint be referred again to the Commission.