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Can Employers Require Random Drug and Alcohol Testing of Employees in Alberta?

The Court in the case of Phillips v Westcan, 2020 ABQB 764 looked at the issue of mandatory drug and alcohol testing in a non-union context.

The Court said at 46:

[46] Random testing may be justified if “it represents a proportionate response in light of both legitimate safety concerns and privacy interests”: Irving at para. 52. Westcan has demonstrated enhanced safety risks, based on the significant rate of positive testing in random tests, physical evidence of alcohol use at work, a vast workplace and inherently dangerous work. Random testing is a proportionate response. If it applies, the Irving test is met.

And at 47:

[47]Mr. Phillips agreed to random drug and alcohol testing when he accepted employment with Westcan. That provision s enforceable. Even if there were no such provision in Mr. Phillips’ employment contract, Westcan could impose random testing because of the dangerous, remote and unsupervised nature of Mr. Phillips’ work, and the significant incidence of drug and alcohol use in Westcan’s workforce. Mr. Phillips has no enforceable right to stop Westcan from randomly testing him or anyone else. Consequently, he is not entitled to an injunction.

If you require advice with respect to this case or any other employment matter, please feel free to contact us.

The information contained in this article is not legal advice. No solicitor client relationship is formed through this article. The reader is encouraged to retain counsel for advice in these matters.

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