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30 May

Having determined that the grievor could not perform any existing job, the employer was obligated to turn its attention to whether, and in what manner, existing nursing jobs could have been adjusted, modified or adapted short of undue hardship to the hospital in order to enable the grievor to return to work despite her physical limitations." As part of the remedy, the board ordered the hospital to "conduct a thorough examination of its work place in order to ascertain how, without incurring undue hardship, it can adapt or modify a nursing job (or jobs) so that the grievor's physical disability can be accommodated." Other recent labour arbitration awards have reinforced this point.In Re Greater Niagara General Hospital, the arbitration board ordered the employer to re-examine existing positions in a nursing unit to determine if they could be re-structured into a new "bundle of duties" that would allow the grievor, a nurse, to work within the limitations of her permanent back injury.

Her back injury had left her unable to perform several key aspects of her regular position, including the lifting and transferring of patients.If the employee cannot, then determine if he or she can perform his or her existing job with modifications.If the employee cannot, then determine if he or she can perform another job in its existing, modified or "re-bundled" form. The Extent of the Employer's Duty The considerable weight that the duty places upon the employer is demonstrated in a recent award from Alberta.But this much is clear to date: The duty requires more from the employer than simply investigating whether any existing job might be suitable for a disabled employee.Rather, the employer is expected to determine whether other positions in the workplace are suitable for the employee or if existing positions can be adjusted, adapted or modified for the employee.