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| Energy & Utilities
June 19 2014

Random Alcohol & Drug Testing Struck Down, Again

"An Alberta Board of Arbitration has concluded that an employer's random alcohol and drug testing policy does not stand up to the legal test set by the Supreme Court of Canada in last year's Irving decision. This is a significant early use of the Irving decision and provides insight into the problems an employer must face - and prove - before justifying random testing. In 2012, the Union filed a grievance objecting to Suncor's proposed random alcohol and drug testing policy on the basis that it is ""unjustifiable, unreasonable, and violates employees' privacy rights, human dignity, and human rights."" The arbitration board considered the decision in Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp and Paper, relating to random testing which held that there must be ""evidence of a problem with alcohol and drugs"" in the workplace in order for random testing to be warranted. This is the first arbitral decision in Alberta to consider Irving. It demonstrates that employers must offer powerful and compelling evidence of a problem with alcohol and drugs at the particular worksite in order to meet the burden of proof placed upon them and successfully implement random testing in the workplace. "