There are a few things to consider before you make any decisions on the employee’s future at your organization. To avoid possible legal problems, do not terminate their employment without having tried, and tried hard, to accommodate health related limitations and needs. And you may need to prove you’ve tried, so document everything. Besides, you’ll probably want to keep this employee – finding staff is so hard, especially with the current labour shortage. Here are some ways you can try to make accommodations for them:
1. Re-evaluate your requirements. Figure out what tasks your employee can do and assign them to those tasks. Perhaps you can hire someone part-time temporarily to cover the tasks your employee can't do. You can even have an occupational therapist come in to do an ergonomic assessment. While it may seem like their regular job functions have one right way to do them, you may find that there many easy adjustments to keep them in their job.
2. If, after re-evaluating, you realize they’re unable to be fully productive in their job or the position cannot be changed enough to be full time, consider changing them to part-time and continuing to pay them for full-time If paying them fully isn’t an option, you'll want to be very careful about changing compensation, so check with your advisor before going down that path.
3. If part-time isn’t an option, ask them to take a leave of absence. This may help them recover faster and EI sick leave benefits may be available to them. If they are in your group insurance plan, consider continuing to share the cost of premiums or at least allowing them to stay in the plan and pay in full. Make sure that the benefits policy allows non-working employees to take a leave of absence and remain in the plan before you make any promises. Also have an expiry date on the benefits coverage in case they are off for longer than expected or don't return.
4. If nothing above works, then you may have to let the employee go. Ensure that the severance package is generous, and the departure is compassionate. Handling an awkward situation with professionalism and kindness can save you from spending big money in legal fees down the road. Plus, you never burn a bridge unnecessarily.