Canada Post fails to deliver accommodation (Legal view)

Postal service’s lack of knowledge about autism leads to discrimination, harassment of letter carrier
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/12/2008

Employers looking for guidance on how to deal with employees with autism have a new example of what not to do, courtesy of Canada Post. The nation’s mail carrier subjected an employee with autism to harassment and discrimination based on her disability and failed to accommodate her, according to a decision from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.

Michelle Dawson was hired by Canada Post in December 1988. She had a good work record without any disciplinary issues and didn’t take any sick days over her 15-year career as a letter carrier. The corporation wasn’t aware Dawson had autism until 1999, at which point she asked for some accommodation.

Canada Post ensured Dawson’s delivery route was kept largely the same, since people with autism have trouble dealing with change. She was also allowed to start work before other carriers, sort letters differently and have a special mail rack she was able to work with more effectively.