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Drugs & Alcohol

Top 10 Canadian Cases on Workplace Privacy in Unionized Employment

Lancaster House presented an audio-conference last Thursday (May 13, 2010) on the "Top 10 Cases on Workplace Privacy in the Unionized Workplace". The cases covered  - there were more than 10 - were:

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Employee’s refusal to extend Return to Work Agreement, acknowledge alcohol dependency, not just cause

In Taylor v. New Westminster (City) (Vancouver Registry S084283, August 19, 2009), the court found that the employer did not have just cause to dismiss an employee who refused to sign an extension to a Return to Work Agreement that required him to acknowledge that he had an alcohol dependency.


At the time of his dismissal, the employee was 54 years old, had 16 years of service and earned a salary of approximately $90,000 per annum. He was Manager of Fleet Services, a safety sensitive position in that he supervised a team of mechanics who performed maintenance and repair work on the employer's various vehicles, including those for the fire and police departments.

Until February 2007, the employee had "an excellent work history" and the employer had "no concerns about his safety in the workplace" (para. 9).

The Incident  read more »

Employee’s treatment for drug addiction/fragile health factored into calculation of reasonable notice period

In Pereira v. The Business Depot Ltd., 2009 BCSC 1178, the court factored in the employee's recent release from a drug addiction treatment centre, and his vulnerable state of health generally, in determining the reasonable notice period.


The employee started working at Staples in 1997, after being recruited from another company. He was eventually promoted to general manager of the Nanaimo location.

Prior to June 2003, he was regarded as a good performer. However, starting at this time his professional conduct took a dramatic turn, as was repeatedly late for work, sometimes would not show up at all or would leave mid day for extended periods.  The employee eventually advised his district manager that he was depressed, fatigued and very unwell.  read more »

The "Addictions in the Workplace" seminar

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

I attended a seminar today on "Addictions in the Workplace" that was put on by the law firm Fasken Martineau. Faskens' labour and employment lawyer Patricia Janzen presented along with Dr. Ray Baker, an addictions specialist who has a company called HealthQuest.

The seminar was one in a series that Faskens is offering to its clients. They are aimed primarily  at human resource professionals, but I wanted to hear Dr. Baker speak and obtain a better sense of the services he offers.

As Ms. Janzen noted in the seminar, the law relating to how employers in BC must deal with addicted employees is not entirely clear, given the decisions by the BC Court of Appeal in:  read more »

Canadian Human Rights Commission revises policy on drug and alcohol testing

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

The Canadian Human Rights Commission announced this week that it has revised its policy on drug and alcohol testing. The revised policy can be read here.