I’m an independent contractor with a disability. Do I have rights at work?

3. Ask the company or organization for accommodation

You know best what your needs are. Think about things that could be done to make things fair for you at work. There are some examples listed in the answer above.

Think about how you'll talk to the workplace about finding a solution that works for both of you.

To get what you need, you have to explain why you need it. Make your request for in writing.

For example, if you're coming back to work after time off for treatment of your , you might need some things to be different for you. You might only be able to:

  • do parts of your job
  • do other kinds of work
  • work flexible hours
  • work fewer hours
  • work from home

You may want to get advice about asking for accommodation. You can contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre for free legal advice and information. For example, they can help you decide:

  • what to say about your disability
  • what to ask for

Medical evidence

It's a good idea to give the company or organization you work for information that supports your request for accommodation. Usually, this means getting a letter from a doctor.

You don't have to tell the workplace what your disability is or what your diagnosis is. But the workplace does need to know:

  • that you have a disability
  • how it affects your ability to do the essential duties of the job
  • what accommodation you need

If the workplace wants you to get more information from your doctor, ask them to put their questions in writing.

The workplace is not allowed to ask for information that reveals your diagnosis. For example, they can't ask what medication you take. But they can ask if your doctor thinks there are specific accommodations that you need because of side effects of medication that you have to take.

The workplace might ask you to get a report from a different doctor. This is called an “independent medical examination”. They're not supposed to ask for this:

  • as a way of questioning whether you need accommodation
  • to avoid giving you accommodation

They should ask for this only if they need another medical opinion to help figure out what accommodation you need.

If they ask for a doctor's letter, the workplace should pay any fees the doctor charges for that. 

You might want to get advice about asking for accommodation. You can contact the Human Rights Legal Support Centre for free legal advice and information. For example, they can help you decide:

  • what to ask your doctor for
  • what to do if the workplace asks for more information or another medical exam
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