The relationship between employee alcohol use and work is complex. In Ontario, there are specific legal obligations which apply, and employers must exercise caution. Without a proper understanding of their legal obligations, employers face a minefield which may unwittingly result in unwanted liability.
It seems a lot of heated HR issues have begun to resurface in the news recently. From the accommodation of medical marijuana to the legality of unpaid internships, these are some issues that have been plaguing HR professionals in recent years.
Drug and alcohol testing in the workplace, particularly randomized testing, has always been a grey area for employers. When is such testing permissible? When is it deemed reasonable in light of safety concerns? The Supreme Court of Canada has answered some of these questions after their long-awaited decision regarding randomized drug and alcohol testing in the case of Irving Pulp and Paper.
On July 7, 2011 the New Brunswick Court of Appeal handed down a decision regarding an employer’s alcohol testing policy. In Irving Pulp and Paper Limited v. Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada Local 30, 2011 NBCA 58, the Court found that the random alcohol testing policy in the case was reasonable.