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November 24 2015

Drug And Alcohol Policies In Alberta

In Stewart v Elk Valley Coal Corporation, 2015 ABCA 225, the Alberta Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Human Rights Tribunal that the termination of a safety sensitive employee involved in a workplace incident while under the influence of cocaine did not constitute discrimination. This decision remains good news for employers. Unlike most Canadian jurisdictions, Alberta employers can still rely on provisions in an alcohol and drug policy that require safety sensitive employees to stop drug use or disclose dependencies in advance of a workplace incident. Employers should carefully examine their alcohol and drug policies to assess whether there are remedial steps to accommodate those with dependency issues before termination becomes the only option.