Mere Smell of Marijuana was not Enough: Employee was Entitled to Refuse Drug Test, Says Court
"An employee was entitled to refuse to submit to a reasonable-suspicion drug test where a supervisor smelled marijuana in the employee's truck but had no other evidence of drug use or impairment, a Nova Scotia judge has held. The employee refused, saying ""it is none of your business what I do when I am not here"", and said that he was a recreational user of marijuana and that the test would be positive anyway. The employee was referred to a Substance Abuse Professional but refused to answer questions about his off-duty drug use. The City fired the employee for his ""lack of cooperation and direct violation of the HRM Substance Abuse Prevention Policy."" The employee grieved the termination, and an arbitrator reinstated him. The City asked the court to overturn the arbitrator's decision. The court noted that although the City had a legal obligation to protect employees' safety under OSHA, the arbitrator reasonably concluded that the evidence suggesting that the employee had used or been impaired by drugs on the job was very weak. In short, the fact that the City had ""safety concerns"" about the employee did not permit the City to dismiss him where the City did not have just cause"