We don’t often get to brag, but from time to time, the Union wins a major victory for all faculty members. Such was the case with our recent Mediated Settlement of the fact that our Employer had failed to evaluate and administer employee requests for medical accommodations in a fair and timely manner. The Union grieved the Employer’s use of Manulife’s Abilities Management Access services in evaluating and administering medical accommodations and while we did not succeed in excluding the use of third-party adjudication for medical accommodations requests, the College accepts that they are ultimately responsible for their decisions, no matter how they are advised by third-parties.
I know, it sounds like we are splitting hairs and calling it a win, but, it really is. The major ground we gained is how we go about appealing the College’s decisions – we grieve them! Before, when Manulife rejected someone’s claim, in order to appeal that decision, it often had to be heard by an internal claims review committee which has take years to accomplish leaving members without their needed accommodations during the review, or in the matter of temporary accommodations, having fully recovered before an accommodation was ever granted or an incorrect ruling can be overturned.
Revised Medical Accommodation Process for CCFA Employees
- The faculty member approaches Human Resources to request a medical accommodation.
- The faculty member provides sufficient medical information to support their request. This information will include but is not limited to the general nature of the reason for the request, a general description of the medical condition for which the request is being sought, the restrictions or limitations that form the basis for the request, and sufficient evidence to link the restrictions or limitations to the underlying condition. This information does not include the diagnosis or particulars of the treatment of any particular medical condition.
- All information received by the College during this process will be treated as confidential, except as set out below.
- Human Resources performs a review of the request for medical accommodation and the information provided by the faculty member.
- Human Resources may request additional information at this step, including confirmation that a treatment plan is being followed, if applicable, but not including the diagnosis and particulars of treatment. If Human Resources requests additional information, Human Resources will provide the faculty member with reasons why this information is necessary.
- While a review is underway, the College will provide an interim medical accommodation to the faculty member, where reasonable and practical.
- The College may refer the request for medical accommodation to a third party for assessment but retains responsibility for making the final decision regarding any accommodation and communicating the results of the review.
- The third party may contact the faculty member to review the information received, discuss the faculty member’s specific situation, and determine appropriate next steps.
- The third party may request additional information from the faculty member or their treatment provider/physician, if it deems necessary for assessment of the medical accommodation request.
- The College will make reasonable efforts to ensure that the third party will use the faculty member’s personal information appropriately for the purposes of assessing the medical accommodation request.
- At the end of this review, Human Resources will inform the faculty member whether medical accommodation(s) will be provided, and if not, Human Resources will provide the faculty member with reasons for denying an accommodation.
- The College will make reasonable efforts to review requests for medical accommodation in a timely manner.
- If it is determined that there is a basis for the faculty member’s request for medical accommodation, then the College will work with faculty member and their workplace leader to review the recommendations, identify appropriate accommodation(s), and determine whether the accommodation(s) can be implemented without undue hardship to the College. Once medical accommodation(s) are implemented, an official accommodation plan will be developed, provided to the faculty member, and placed on the faculty member’s personnel file.
*This process does not apply to medical accommodations associated with the adjudication of sick leave, short term or long term disability claims.
If you have any questions about this new process, PLEASE let us know. Especially if you think that the College has initiated the wrong process or not followed the steps above!
Lynelle Yutani (she/they)
President, Camosun College Faculty Association
Lynelle is a queer, leftist rabble-rouser galvanized to guard the rights of union members and is on a crusade to convince you that you get out of your Union what you put into it. Lynelle serves on a number of Federation of Post-Secondary Educators (FPSE) Committees and FPSE affiliate committees in CAUT, the BC Fed, and the Canadian Labour Congress. Lynelle also serves as V.P. of her Strata Council & oversees a rooftop community garden which partners with Harvest & Share Food Aid Society to grow fresh produce for local foodbanks and community food security programs.
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