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Drugs in the workplace : the supreme Court of Canada makes a major decision



26 July, 2017 09:45

The supreme Court of Canada has recently rendered a decision which is one of the most important decisions in the area of human rights concerning the consumption of drugs in the workplace. Indeed, it has ruled that an employer has a valid reason to fire an employee if he has violated a policy ability to work in presenting themselves at work while impaired by the drug.

The supreme Court of Canada has endorsed a decision made by the courts, which had concluded that the employer had not discriminated when it terminated the employment of the employee.

Disclosure policy

In this case, the employee was working in a mine where he was driving a transport truck. The activities of the mine were unsafe, and the maintenance of a construction site safe was of a great importance in the eyes of the employer and employees. In order to ensure safety in the mine, the employer has established a policy requiring that employees disclose any problem of addiction or substance abuse prior to an incident related to the drug occurs.

If they did, were offered a treatment. If, on the other hand, they did not, were subsequently involved in an incident and got a positive result on a drug test, they are likely to be laid off.

Cocaine addiction

The employee used cocaine during her days off. He has not reported to his employer that he consumed drugs. When he had an accident at work, he got a positive result on a drug test. Later, after talking to his union, he was said to believe that he suffered from a cocaine addiction. His employer terminated his employment. The employee claimed he was fired because of his addiction and that the dismissal constituted discrimination within the meaning of the act.

Policy on fitness-to-work

The supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the employee had been fired for violating the policy on fitness-to-work, and not because of his addiction.

It is a decision that has significant implications for employers in particular, about the importance of having a policy on work readiness, the need to put in place a policy on screening for alcohol and drugs in the workplace, or the need to obtain legal advice before you terminate an employee for having used prohibited substances.

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