Must Health Service Accommodate Paramedic by Letting Him Only Drive?


A part-time paramedic with multiple sclerosis (MS) had decreased sensation in his fingertips, making him unable to “palpate a pulse.” The health service wouldn’t let him work as a paramedic, saying being able to feel a pulse was a bona fide occupational requirement (BFOR). He filed a discrimination complaint. The Human Rights Tribunal ruled that although being able to manually take a pulse was a BFOR, the employer should’ve accommodated him by letting him work as a driver while being paid as a paramedic. But the court said the Tribunal failed to consider whether that accommodation was an undue hardship for the employer. So it sent the case back to the Tribunal for a decision on that issue [Emergency Health Services Commission v. Cassidy, [2011] BCSC 1003 (CanLII), July 26, 2011].