When Is It Appopriate To Drug Test In The Workplace?

In Canada, it is illegal for a business to impose random drug testing on its employees. Even in a workplace where safety is a concern due to heavy machinery or transportation services, employees do not have to submit to a random drug test, as this is considered a human rights violation. However, there are still some instances where it is appropriate, expected, and perfectly legal for an employer to require a drug test from an employee. Read on to find out when it is acceptable to drug test an employee so your company can stay on the right side of the law.

When an offer of employment has been extended

Drug screening of an applicant prior to offering a job is only permissible in the province of Alberta, and then only in workplaces that are considered exceptionally dangerous. This means that if your business practices pre-employment drug screening, there is a good chance that your company can be taken to court for a human rights violation.

When a workplace accident occurs

In a situation where an accident or injury occurs while on the clock, the employer is justified in asking the employee to take a drug and alcohol test to see if he or she may have been impaired during the incident. Recent improvements in drug testing technology have made it possible for the test to determine if the employee in question is under the influence at the time that the test is administered. Previously, it was difficult to detect recent drug use during urinalysis.

When an employee is suspected of being impaired due to drugs or alcohol

If an employee is acting intoxicated or smells like drugs or alcohol, it is then appropriate for a drug test to be required. If the employee tests positive, they must be offered drug and/or alcohol counseling, as substance abuse and addiction is considered a disability, and persons with disabilities may not be discriminated against in the workplace. However, if the employee refuses to accept treatment or cannot recover, their employment may then be terminated.

When an employee returns from drug and/or alcohol treatment

Once treatment has been completed by an employee, random or periodic testing is permitted by the employer to make sure that their employee is holding up their end of the bargain by addressing their substance abuse or alcohol addiction. If the employee fails a drug test at this time, they may be dismissed.

For more information, contact a company who specializes in drug screening. 

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