Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Duty to Accommodate During Recruitment

The goal of any hiring committee is to choose the best candidate based on the information gathered during the recruitment process. The University has a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure that all short-listed candidates have an equal opportunity to demonstrate their skills and abilities which may require a hiring unit to modify their recruitment process.

The University has a duty to respond to requests for accommodation to ensure that personal characteristics protected under human rights law (the protected grounds) do not create a barrier to employment. Protected grounds include: place of origin, ancestry, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, mental disability, source of income, religious beliefs, race, colour, language, family status, and marital status. In addition, the University has recognized political belief as a protected ground. When a job candidate requests an accommodation during the selection process, it is a hiring unit’s obligation to respond in a timely and appropriate manner.

An accommodation request could include, for example:
  • providing a space for the interview that is wheelchair accessible,
  • making software available to allow a candidate with vision loss to complete computer testing,
  • permitting the participation of a sign-language interpreter in the interview,
  • scheduling extra time for testing,
  • or scheduling an interview around a particular religious observance.
Since the purpose of the Duty to Accommodate is to ensure protected grounds do not create barriers to employment it is important to put aside this information as you make your hiring decision. In addition, it is not permissible at any time during the selection process to ask candidates to disclose personal information protected under human rights law, no matter how well-intended the inquiry might be. The only exception is when there is a Bona Fide occupational requirement to do so.

Hiring units may need to be flexible with their interview processes to respond appropriately, if and when accommodation is requested. It may be necessary in some cases to postpone the interview process while arrangements are made for a candidate to fully participate in an interview.

If you receive a request for accommodation during the recruitment process, contact your Human
Resources Consultant for advice and support.

If you would like to receive general information and training on equitable hiring practices, contact
Catherine Anley, Employment Equity Advisor.