Random Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace

Balancing Employee Privacy Interests with Workplace Safety
Balancing Employee Privacy Interests with Workplace Safety
Labour Relations

In modern society, safety and privacy interests frequently seem to conflict, particularly in the workplace. Random drug and alcohol testing is one instance when these interests may conflict. Employers are obligated under occupational safety legislation to provide a safe workplace for employees. The risk of workplace accidents increases if employees are working under the influence of drugs or alcohol. To mitigate that risk, some employers have implemented policies of random drug or alcohol testing. Employees and unions often object to such policies on the basis that random drug or alcohol testing infringes employee privacy interests.

Several months ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that employee privacy interests outweighed employer safety concerns in Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Local 30 v Irving Pulp & Paper, Ltd., 2013 SCC 34 (“Irving”). Irving marks the first time the Supreme Court of Canada has considered workplace drug or alcohol testing. Further, Irving is a departure from some of the earlier appellate court decisions on drug and alcohol testing, which focused on the legality of such policies under human rights legislation, as opposed to privacy considerations.

Download PDF: Random Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace

Receive email updates
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Learn more about the collection, use and disclosure of personal information at Queen’s University.

You May Also Like

ARTICLES

Human Resources
The Ever-Increasing Digital World of Work
With the acceleration of all things digital over the past five years, especially through the pandemic, training strat...
Labour Relations
7 Steps for a Sustainable Labour Relations Strategy
Having worked as a Labour Relations Expert for the past 30 years, I feel it is important to understand the critical s...
Human Resources
Talent Mobility: Reducing Self-imposed Barriers to Increase Mobility in Your Organization
Organizations need the right talent to succeed, and they need it now. Simply stated: I don’t think there is a CEO a...

PROGRAMS

Performance Coaching
Gain essential skills for building performance, growth, and accountability
Workplace Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Impactful EDI strategies to unleash workforce potential and maximize organizational success

Share this article

Page link
Copied!

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. Learn more about the collection, use and disclosure of personal information at Queen’s University.