Knowledge Base

Regarding accommodating injured workers, if a worker cannot perform any work being offered, what are some examples of undue hardship for the worker? Is creating an entire new position qualify as undue hardship on the employer?

Teresa (WorkSafeBC): Undue hardship refers to a point at which accommodating a worker becomes too difficult, unsafe, or costly for the employer. WorkSafeBC determines if the situation meets the undue hardship criteria on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the specific circumstances of each situation. Employers are obligated to identify and offer work that is safe, productive, and consistent with the worker’s functional abilities and skills and, if possible, restores the worker’s wages. Generally, employers are not expected to create new job positions or roles simply to fulfill the obligation to offer suitable work. Employers are expected to identify and make available suitable work opportunities that already exist, or may exist, within their organization, and that match the worker’s functional abilities and medical restrictions. Employers should consider what changes to the work or workplace could be made to allow a worker to return to work.

Amanda (TeksMed Services): I believe you mean undue hardship for the Employer. Creating a new position does not qualify as undue hardship in and of itself. Undue hardship is a VERY HIGH bar to claim and the employer has the onus of proof to support that hardship. Hardship within Policy is defined as:

Undue hardship is the point at which it is too difficult, too expensive, or
unsafe for the employer to accommodate the worker.

Some examples of things the Board may consider in relation to this per the RSCM are:

  • safety risks to the worker, other workers, or others;
  • financial ability to accommodate;
  • disruption of operations;
  • interchangeability of the work force and facilities;
  • size of the employer’s operation; and
  • impact on other workers.