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  • Related Documents:  Accommodation of Religious Observances Procedure
  • Approval Dates:  January 2001, January 2004, August 2007
  • Approved by:  Vice President, Administration and Finance
  • Jurisdiction:  Vice President, Administration and Finance, Human Resources

 

Purpose

The University is committed to accommodating employees in accordance with its obligations under applicable legislation, collective agreements and University policies.

The University recognizes that in ensuring that employees have a right to equal treatment without discrimination in employment on the basis of creed, accommodation measures may be required to facilitate the practice of religious observances.

The University’s collective agreements prohibit discrimination and harassment, as defined under the Ontario Human Rights Code, by any representatives of the University or a union.

Application and Scope

This policy, and its related procedures, apply to all employees of Ryerson University.

The policy applies to all situations where an employee’s religious observance affects his/her employment and requires accommodation.

Policy

The University will accept all requests for accommodation of religious observances as bonafide, unless there is specific evidence to indicate an abuse of the policy.  The University’s duty to accommodate will be determined on a case by case basis.

Definitions

For the purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

Accommodation:  Accommodation is an adaptation or adjustment made to enable a person to perform the essential duties or requirements of a position.  The requirement, qualification or factor must be reasonable and bonafide in the circumstances.                                                        

Religion or Creed:  Creed is interpreted to mean religious creed or religion.  It is defined as a professed system and confession of faith, including both beliefs and observances or worship.  A belief in a God or gods, or a single supreme being or deity is not a requisite.

Religious Observance:  Religious observance refers to commitments or obligations based on a person’s religion or creed.  This can include, but is not limited to, the celebration of religious holidays, requirements concerning attire, prohibitions, or observances related to particular events, eg. death of a family member.

Undue Hardship:  Reasonable accommodation must be granted to allow employees to fulfill religious obligations, unless to do so would create an undue hardship.  Determining whether a particular means of accommodation is reasonable, or creates an undue hardship, requires an assessment of factors including, but not limited to:

1.         cost - undue hardship exists if the financial costs, related to accommodation of the needs of the individual would alter the essential nature or would substantially affect the viability of the organization responsible for the accommodation;

2.         operational impact and morale;

3.         collective agreement and contract restrictions;

4.         treatment of other kinds of requests;

5.         ability to alter the work schedule.

Employment:  Employment includes the hiring for, performance in and retention of a job, and promotion within the workplace.

Manager:  Manager refers to an individual who has full supervisory responsibility for an employee, or is responsible for making hiring decisions.  This may include executives, chairs, directors, deans and supervisors, as applicable.

Department:  Department includes work unit, school or division, as applicable, unless referring to a particular department’s role.

Confidentiality of Information

Personal information concerning an employee’s religion or creed cannot be released without the prior written consent of the individual.

Employees are entitled to receive copies of any information obtained or prepared concerning their case.

Where the accommodation process requires the release of confidential information to a third party, the third party, and any person or department delegated by that third party, will be required to ensure that confidentiality is protected, that the information obtained is kept in a secure location, and used solely for the purpose that the release was required.

Responsibilities

Supervisors, managers, chairs, directors, deans, and the senior executive recognize that they bear special responsibility in ensuring that the policy and the legislated requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Code, on which it is based are complied with.  Where, in performing their corporate duties, these members of Ryerson management contravene this policy and hence, the Code and Act, and where they do not exercise their authority to ensure compliance with this policy, the Code and Act, they not only incur personal liability, but they also place the Board of Governors of the University at risk of incurring liability for a breach of the Code.   Their actions or inactions, as they relate to enforcing this policy and the legislated requirements on which it is based, are seen to be the actions or inactions of the corporation, that is, the University as represented by the Board of Governors.

Jurisdiction

This policy and its related procedure fall under the jurisdiction of the Vice President, Administration and Finance.  The interpretation and application of this policy is a shared responsibility of Human Resources.