University Policy


Workplace Accommodation

Approval Date: 2012-12-06

Effective Date: 2015-04-21

Review Date: 2020-12-06


The Vice President (Administration and Finance) through the Director of the Department of Human Resources and the Director of the Office of Faculty Relations


Memorial University of Newfoundland is committed to maintaining an environment of understanding and respect for the dignity and worth of each person in support of inclusiveness in its workplace programs and practices. The duty to accommodate is an ethical and legal responsibility.


To communicate the University’s commitment and obligation to the accommodation process including:

  1. Establishing principles regarding the duty of accommodation;
  2. Identifying roles and responsibilities of individuals and groups in an accommodation process; and,
  3. Establishing a framework for the accommodation process.


All employees of the University.  Candidates for employment at the University will be accommodated during the application and selection process.


Academic and non Academic Administrators — Any non-bargaining unit employee with supervisory and/or administrative responsibility, for example, Dean, Director, Administrative Head, Manager or Supervisor.

Accommodation — Accommodation is the duty owed by the University to an employee or job applicant not to discriminate against them. It is any temporary or permanent measure used to remove a barrier which prevents an otherwise qualified individual from performing or fulfilling the essential duties of a job. The University attempts to accommodate the employment needs of job applicants and employees who are protected under the Human Rights Act, 2010, up to the point of undue hardship.

Prohibited Grounds — A human rights violation under Newfoundland and Labrador Human Rights Act, 2010 occurs when an individual is discriminated against because of one or a combination of the following prohibited grounds of discrimination (as amended from time to time): Race, Colour, Nationality, Ethnic Origin, Social Origin, Religious Creed, Religion, Age*, Disability, Disfigurement, Sex (including pregnancy), Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, Marital Status, Family Status, Source of Income**, Political Opinion.

* This provision does not prohibit the denial or refusal of accommodation, services, facilities or goods to a person who is less than 19 years of age where the denial or refusal is required or authorized by another Act. (ss.11(4), Human Rights Act, 2010)
** Source of Income means the receipt of income or employment support under the Income and Employment Support Act. (2(p)Human Rights Act, 2010)

The Act — Human Rights Act, 2010

University — Memorial University of Newfoundland.


1.0          LEGAL FRAMEWORK

1.1          This policy derives from The Act which: 

  • is premised on the principle of equality of every individual in dignity and rights;
  • provides for equal rights and opportunities without discrimination; and,
  • strives for a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the dignity and worth of each person.

1.2          Accommodation is viewed as a protection of human rights. The Act sets out the prohibited grounds of discrimination (as defined above).  The University may be asked to provide accommodation on any of these stated grounds.

1.3          The University prohibits discrimination on these stated grounds and as well in accordance with subsections 9 (3) and 9 (4) of the Act as stated below and as amended from time to time:

Subsection 9 (3):  Where this Act protects an individual from discrimination on the basis of disability, the protection includes the protection of an individual from discrimination on the basis that he or she:

(a)          has or has had a disability;
(b)          is believed to have or have had a disability; or
(c)           has or is believed to have a predisposition to developing a disability.

Subsection 9 (4):  Where this Act protects an individual from discrimination on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination, it also protects the individual from discrimination on the basis of:

(a)          2 or more prohibited grounds of discrimination or the effect of a combination of prohibited grounds; and
(b)          the individual’s association or relationship, whether actual or presumed, with an individual or class of individuals identified by a prohibited ground of discrimination.

Memorial affirms the following principles of accommodation:

2.1          Individualization
Each request for accommodation is distinct, is based on individual circumstances and is implemented with dignity.

2.2          Shared Responsibility
Accommodation invokes a duty to cooperate among the person seeking an accommodation and the University and bargaining agent (if applicable) to achieve a reasonable accommodation. Third parties with special expertise may be consulted with the consent of the employee requesting the accommodation.

2.3          Consultation
Those parties involved in the accommodation process will be consulted, as deemed appropriate, ensuring that the person requesting an accommodation is involved in the process and plan design. Communication between the parties is important to ensure that individuals receive a reasonable accommodation. 

2.4          Respect for Confidentiality
All requests for accommodations will be treated in a confidential manner. The University handles all information about a Workplace Accommodation as confidential and in accordance with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, other privacy legislation to which the University is subject and the University’s Privacy Policy.

From time to time, the University may seek the input and assistance of a third party in order to respond to a request for accommodation. Where appropriate, the third party will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement to ensure the University’s requirements with respect to privacy and confidentiality are upheld. The consent of the employee requesting the accommodation is needed prior to the University contacting any third parties.   All records relating to a request for accommodation will be handled in accordance with the University’s Privacy Policy.

3.0          ACCOMMODATION

3.1          The purpose of accommodation is to enable employees to perform the responsibilities of their position.  Accommodation may require making changes to the working environment in order that the essential requirements of the position may be met.

3.2          The nature and type of accommodation will depend on individual assessments and is subject to periodic review.  Temporary accommodations may be needed depending on the particular circumstances in each case.

3.3          The dignity of the individual shall be respected in all aspects of the accommodation process.


4.1          The University has a responsibility to provide reasonable workplace accommodation, up to the point of undue hardship that promotes access to employment and reasonably allows for effective participation in the workplace.

4.2          The obligation of the University is to provide reasonable accommodation up to the point of undue hardship.

4.3          Undue hardship must be considered in the context of each request for accommodation. It is the responsibility of the University to demonstrate that it will suffer undue hardship as the result of a requested accommodation. In determining whether a requested accommodation creates undue hardship, consideration is given to factors enumerated in human rights law.

4.4          The parties shall make a reasonable and good faith effort at reaching an accommodation.

The search for accommodation is a multi-party inquiry. The individual seeking accommodation, Academic and Non-academic Administrators, representatives from the Office of Faculty Relations or the Department of Human Resources, and the bargaining agent (if applicable) all have specific responsibilities for achieving reasonable accommodation, through communication and respect.  

5.1          Normally, employees self-identify in accordance with the Procedure for Requesting and Implementing a Workplace Accommodation. The University expects employees seeking an accommodation to take an active role in the accommodation process. Employees shall provide documentation to support their request for accommodation, which may include medical information, to assist the University in its effort to reach reasonable accommodation. Employees are not entitled to perfect accommodation.

5.2          Academic and Non-Academic Administrators are expected to begin the accommodation process once the request for accommodation is made. The University must provide reasonable accommodation up to the point of undue hardship as per Section 4.0.  All parties involved in the accommodation process will take an active role in considering accommodation options and facilitating the process of accommodation.

5.3          Normally an employee would initiate an accommodation request through the completion of a Request for Workplace Accommodation Form, and then the Procedure for Requesting and Implementing a Workplace Accommodation is followed.

5.4          In limited cases, and in the absence of a request from an employee, the University may have a responsibility to begin the accommodation process when there is a reasonable belief that an employee may require an accommodation. In addition, in certain cases, the University may initiate the accommodation process to facilitate a return to work. In such cases, administration is advised to contact the Department of Human Resources or the Office of Faculty Relations to seek advice.

5.5          Unions and professional associations are expected to take an active role as partners in the accommodation process; to share joint responsibilities with the University to facilitate accommodation measures; and to support accommodation measures unless they create undue hardship.

Related Documents

The Human Rights Act, 2010
Federal Contractors Program
Collective Agreements
Staff Handbook for Non-Bargaining Unit Employees
Workplace Accommodation Form
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Employment
Information Request Policy
Privacy Policy
Supporting and Accommodating Breast Feeding Policy


For inquiries related to this policy:

For inquiries related to this policy: 

Department of Human Resources 709-864-2434


Vice-President (Administration & Finance)


Human Rights

Previous Versions:

There is at least one previous version of this policy. Contact the Policy Office to view earlier version(s)

Approval Date: 2012-12-06
Effective Date: 2012-12-06
Policy Amendment History

There are past amendments for this policy:

Date: 2019-05-31 14:19:35
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: Connected definitions using definitions from the glossary.
Date: 2021-06-14 22:35:18
This policy was replaced with a new version. Comment provided: Updated contact information