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Are we required to provide assistance for a non-work-related injury?

Q: Is an employer required to provide aids/mechanical assistance in the workplace for non-work-related injuries? Further, what evidence can the employer ask a worker to provide about their injury before making a decision regarding this request?

A: The obligation to provide aids/mechanical assistance to workers with non-work-related injuries arises from disability discrimination legislation. If the injury is such that it could be considered a disability for the purposes of the legislation, then an employer is required to make reasonable accommodation for that disability, including the provision of aids and mechanical assistance.

However, this obligation only extends so far as reasonably practicable, and there is no obligation to take a step that would impose unjustifiable hardship on your business. In order to assess whether the request is reasonable, you are entitled to require the worker to provide medical evidence that supports the assertion that the particular aid/mechanical assistance is necessary. You can then seek advice and consider other reasonable alternatives.

Please note: The answer is correct at the time of publishing. Be aware that laws may change over time. Refer to Discrimination for current advice.

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