Permanent employment terms not discriminatory

Court rules imposing conditions on addict were necessary to address ongoing absenteeism
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today

An arbitrator’s decision imposing special terms and conditions on an employee addicted to alcohol and cocaine for the duration of his employment is not discriminatory, the British Columbia Supreme Court has ruled.

Gerry Black, 46, was a letter carrier for Canada Post in Victoria. Black was addicted to both alcohol and cocaine, which led to attendance problems at work. In 2001, Canada Post felt his absenteeism was beyond its ability to handle and it exercised its right under the collective agreement to release him for incapacity.

Black grieved the release and reached a settlement under which, for a period of 18 months, he was required to complete a drug dependency and rehabilitation program, stop using drugs and alcohol and maintain specified standards of attendance. Black met all these conditions and had no attendance problems for the duration of the settlement period.