Stressed firefighter fights firing

Firefighter claimed bad attendance record was caused by mental disability but arbitrator found he really just handled his personal problems poorly
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 01/09/2013

Too little too late

When should an employee raise the issue of a disability and request accommodation? When should an employer consider accommodation? Should an employer wait for a direct request or take a hint? These are all questions with which employers can wrestle when it comes to figuring out the duty to accommodate employees with disabilities.

Is an employee dropping hints enough? And what really constitutes a disability? An Ontario firefighter’s claim that he had a disability — after he was dismissed — seemed to be a little late coming, and the nature of the disability left the fire department a little mystified. It was left to an arbitrator to sort it all out.