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I work for Bell Canada doing customer service. Every second of the shift is logged, from when you are ready and available to take calls and when you have to go "away from desk (AFD)" to go to the washroom. I have Crohn's Disease and have a medical note on file stating I sometimes have to use the washroom frequently/for extended periods of time because of this. My employer was accommodating at first I thought, they adjusted my break schedule to 3-10 minute breaks and 1-30 minute lunch to help reduce the time I was away from desk and give me more break periods. This did help decrease my away from desk but some days it would still be high (they want it to be 6 minutes or less a day, more than 6 and you can face repercussions). My away from desk is usually below 6 minutes but when I start to get a flare up/feel upset inside for whatever reason it can sometimes get up between 10-15 minutes AFD for a period of a couple days. My manager now requires me to email her when I'm having a flare up and going to be AFD for an extended period of time so she has "proof" to show when higher up's ask about my AFD. I was emailing her at first but then decided it was humiliating and I didn't like letting my employer know how my Crohn's was doing on a day-to-day basis. They never complained when I stopped emailing about the days when I would have a longer AFD. Again, most days I'm below 6 but I do sometimes go above 6. My employer now wants me to log out of my phone when I know I'm going to to be AFD for longer than 6 minutes and not get paid for that time. I could maybe understand if my AFD was consistently 20+ minutes and they were suspicious of me but it's never that high, I have a doctor's note on file, I have been as transparent as I can be besides following through with notifying them of my Crohn's situation daily. I'm basically looking to find out if they have fulfilled their legal right to accommodate me or if they're going too far with requiring me to log out and possibly terminating me for not abiding by their rules. I hate the idea of me losing 10-15 minutes of pay certain days because my Crohn's is acting up. Do they have the right to ask me to log out when I'm going to the washroom and not be paid?

Hello and thank you for your question,

Your employer's obligation is to accommodate your illness. If this means you require additional/extended washroom breaks, the employer should provide these breaks to you. That said, the employer does not necessarily have to pay you for these breaks as part of the accommodation process. If the employer is cutting your pay for breaks you are required to take above and beyond the mandated expected work-breaks, this is not an issue so long as they continue to provide the breaks as you require them. I agree that you should not have to tell your direct manager every-time you have a Chron's related flareup, and this is something that should be addressed with the Human Resources Department. However, if the expectation is you simply log out of the system when you require a break, I do not see this as being an issue.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us at the number below to arrange for a consultation. We would be happy to help in any way we can.
The Lawyers at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP
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