Employee drug and alcohol testing in the workplace
Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash

Last week, we discussed various options for accommodations that employers can consider for employees with substance dependence-related disabilities. We then delved into general rules around drug and alcohol testing of employees and briefly outlined some differences between drug and alcohol tests. In the last part of our series on substance addictions at work, we will touch on whether employers can conduct drug tests on specific employees, as well as random drug testing in the workplace. We’ll also cover some alternatives to drug and alcohol testing and highlight the human rights issues at play when it comes to the subject of employee substance use. 

Drug & Alcohol Testing of a Specific Employee

Due to concerns over potential intrusion on privacy and human rights issues, drug and alcohol testing is generally justified in Canada where employees are in safety-sensitive positions and one of the following situations applies:
Continue Reading Substance Addictions at Work: A Guide for Employers – Part 4/4

addiction accommodations at work
Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash

Last week, we discussed the employer’s duty to accommodate employees with disabilities, which includes drug and alcohol dependence. Employers have a duty to accommodate employees up to the point of undue hardship. This is a high bar!  So employers need to give a lot of thought to what they can possibly do before deciding it’s not possible to accommodate an employee.  Employers will normally have at least a few options for employee accommodations, ranging from leaves to addictions support programs, which we will discuss below. We will also cover drug and alcohol testing in this blog. 

Leaves

Very often, the accommodation that an employee suffering from an addiction requires is a leave. Many medical notes recommend this option; should an employer encounter such a note, the employer can put the employee on an unpaid leave with continuation of benefits. The fact that the leave is unpaid can sometimes incentivize employees to recover and return to work sooner rather than later. The timeline of these types of leaves can be very long, unless the doctor makes clear that the employee will never be able to do the job again. In these scenarios, the employer may have to accommodate the employee to work in another position within the company. 
Continue Reading Substance Addictions at Work: A Guide for Employers – Part 3/4

addiction accommodations at work
Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash

Last week, we discussed challenges that employers face when dealing with substance dependence and addictions challenges in the workplace. We ended off discussing the employer’s duty to inquire. 

An employer has a duty to inquire as to whether an employee has disability-related accommodation needs when the employer is aware or reasonably ought to be aware that there may be a relationship between a disability and the employee’s job performance. An employer who observes unusual or troubling behaviour has a duty to assess the situation and look into whether the employee’s behaviour may be the result of a disability before the employer imposes any sanctions on the employee. 

An employer has a duty to raise concerns with the employee and to advise the employee that accommodations may be possible if their behaviour is a result of a disability, for example. 
Continue Reading Substance Addictions at Work: A Guide for Employers – Part 2/4

Substance Addictions at Work
Photo by Jeff W on Unsplash

Many employers will at some point encounter drug and alcohol issues in the workplace. Under the Canadian Human Rights Act, substance dependence is considered a disability. An addiction to drugs or alcohol also constitutes a disability within the meaning of the Ontario Human Rights Code

An addiction should only become an issue for the employer, however, if it affects the employee’s work performance. Employers have a right to expect a certain level of performance and competency from their employees, but employees have a right to be accommodated for their disabilities to the point of undue hardship. 
Continue Reading Substance Addictions at Work: A Guide for Employers – Part 1/4

covid-19 workplace law issues
Credits: www.cherrydeck.com

With the new Ontario Covid-19 response framework in place and Covid-19 still on the rise, employers need guidance on how to navigate workplace law issues.

During our last webinar, we covered this very topic and were flooded with employer questions. This is Part 2 of our Q&A on the second wave of Covid-19 workplace law issues.  Click here for Part 1.  

Question 7: If an employee chooses to work from home because of childcare, kids’ online learning/homeschooling, but their role is impossible to do at home, are we required to provide alternative work OR do they just go on leave? 
Continue Reading Covid-19 2nd Wave Workplace Law Issues: Part 2

coronavirus workplace legal considerations
Credits: www.cherrydeck.com

With the second wave of Covid-19 upon us, new government benefits now in place and government business restrictions shifting, it is important for employers to be up to speed on key workplace legal considerations and compliance issues.  During our last webinar, we covered this very topic and were flooded with questions from employers.  Below is part 1 of a summary of the most common Q&As.

Question 1: Are employees entitled to an accommodation to work from home if it is a choice or preference to not put their kids in school, rather than a need based on health issues?
Continue Reading Covid-19 2nd Wave Workplace Law Issues: Part 1

employers options as schools re-open
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In some form or another, it’s looking like in-person learning will be going ahead this school year but that parents can keep their children home if they wish. In many cases, employers whose operations have been remote for the past several months are looking to bring employees back to the office. What if an employee doesn’t want to send their child back to school and subsequently insists that they cannot, therefore, come back into the office to work? What are an employer’s options?
Continue Reading School Re-Opening and Issues for Employers