A leading industry lawyer explains the requirements employers must meet in order to justify random drug and alcohol testing in a unionized workplace.
“Whether random drug or alcohol testing is justifiable in a safety-sensitive workplace is assessed on a case-by-case basis,” says Christopher Munroe, of Roper Greyell. “This sort of testing is not automatically acceptable.”
However, Munroe says a recent case between Suncor Energy and Unifor is offering much-needed clarification for Canadian employers. In the case, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench laid out three factors which would determine whether mandatory testing was acceptable or not. Specifically, the court confirmed that:
- The employer does not necessarily have to demonstrate a “serious” alcohol or drugs problem in the workplace.
- The employer need not demonstrate a threshold causal connection between a drug and alcohol problem and accident history
- Evidence of a problem can come from the entire workplace and not just from the bargaining unit.
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