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May 1 2015

Case Note: Interim Order Permitting Drug And Alcohol Testing To Continue Upheld

In a recent legal case Teck Coal Limited v United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, the BC Labour Relations Board upheld the interim order of an arbitrator. 

The order had permitted the employer to continue testing pending a decision on the union’s grievance against the employer’s mandatory random alcohol and drug policy. The arbitrator had noted the existence of extensive and substantial evidence to support the employer’s case that testing led to a reduction of safety risk from a preventative standpoint. He had concluded that the risk of industrial accident carried greater potential for irreparable harm than the harm to employee privacy interests caused by continuation of drug and alcohol testing pending the hearing and decision. The Board held that the arbitrator had not erred in reaching that conclusion nor had he erred in distinguishing other arbitral cases on the facts.