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Drug Testing Ruling Stokes Dispute

Herb Fellow

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EDMONTON -- A court ruling against a fired marijuana user won't stop the province's human rights commission seeking changes to workplace drug-testing policies, a lawyer on the case said yesterday.

"I think automatic termination is troubling because you're denying someone employment," said Arman Chak, an Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission lawyer who represented the fired worker, John Chiasson, during a recent court case.

Chak said the commission hasn't decided on whether to challenge a ruling from the Alberta Court of Appeal rejecting Chiasson's claims a Fort McMurray employer's drug-testing policies were discriminatory.

While Chiasson admitted he was only a recreational pot smoker, a lower-court judge had earlier ruled that in firing anyone who tested positive for drugs, engineering and construction company Kellogg Brown and Root (KBR) had essentially treated him as an addict and therefore disabled.

Alberta's human-rights legislation forbids discrimination on the basis of disability.

The appeal judges, however, have now ruled safety concerns justify workplace drug-testing policies, thereby overturning the earlier court decision.

For Chak, the debate isn't over. "Is that the best way to deal with him? I think that's a level of disrespect that we don't expect in Alberta," he said of Chiasson's firing.

Chak pointed to evidence a urine test showing the presence of marijuana doesn't necessarily mean a person is impaired.

He said in Chiasson's case, the worker had started his job as a receiving clerk at a Syncrude Canada construction site by the time the test results came back.

By then, it had been weeks since he had smoked the pot.

Source: The Calgary Sun
Copyright: 2008 Sun Media
Contact: Glenn Kauth, Sun Media
Website: The Calgary Sun - Drug testing ruling stokes dispute


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if you can be fired for a positive test for pot then due process would mean you could be fired for drinking three weeks ago


I've posted all relevant information on stopthedrugwar.org.The posting contains the E-mail and postal addresses as well as contact numbers for the commission.This case is precedent setting and Everyone should be pushing for an appeal of this ruling.I don't remember when the right to privacy was lost re the original urine test.I do know that if this insidious legislation isn't defeated.We may all be out of work.:60:420 Magazine ®
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