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Oil & Gas

Possession of marijuana sufficient to establish termination

Jurisdiction: - Newfoundland & Labrador
Sector: - Oil & Gas

The impending legalization of marijuana has generated a consistent buzz of articles and discussion on the implications for the workplace. As a potential harbinger of things to come, the Court of Appeal of Newfoundland and Labrador recently reversed a judgment on judicial review and upheld an arbitrator’s finding of just cause for possession of marijuana.

In Terra Nova Employers' Organization v. Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Local 2121, 2018 NLCA 7, the court considered the circumstance of an employee found with a small amount of marijuana in his pocket during screening prior to boarding a transport helicopter to an offshore petroleum platform. The grievor expressed disbelief and surprise at the presence of the marijuana, but the employer terminated the grievor for breaching policies prohibiting possession of drugs and alcohol in the workplace. The arbitrator upheld the dismissal, citing the safety sensitive nature of the work and the need to establish a general deterrent.

On judicial review the court reversed the decision,incorporating the concept of mens rea into the employee’s act of possession, and finding that the employee could not be terminated for unintentionally breaching the policy.  read more »

Alberta Court of Appeal agrees that Syncrude had just cause to dismiss senior employee for sexual harassment

Jurisdiction: - Alberta
Sector: - Oil & Gas

In Clarke v Syncrude Canada Ltd, 2014 ABCA 362, the Alberta Court of Appeal agreed that Syncrude Canada Inc. had just cause to dismiss a 55 year old assistant comptroller who engaged in sexual harassment.

The appeal court summarized the former employee's misconduct and the company's response as follows:

[3]                  The facts are fully set out in the trial reasons, so only a brief summary of the facts is necessary here. Clarke began employment with Syncrude in 1983. When terminated in 2005, he was 55 years old, an assistant comptroller and Syncrude's key contact with its pension fund administrator.  read more »