Dealing with suspected intoxication at work

Acting on suspicion of drug or alcohol use by employees
By Colin Gibson
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 11/02/2011

Question: What course of action can our company take if we suspect an employee to be intoxicated at work? Can we ask the employee to submit to drug and alcohol testing? Does it make a difference if the employee is in a safety-sensitive job?

Answer: Needless to say, it is important for employers to ensure their employees are not intoxicated on the job. Nevertheless, the fundamental privacy interests of employees also play a role when alcohol and drug testing is proposed in both unionized and non-union environments.

Where an employer suspects an employee is impaired it can take a number of actions including questioning the employee and, in certain circumstances, testing. Any testing conducted by an employer will be subject to a standard of reasonableness.