Mr. Saucier was employed by the City of Quebec (the City) for
almost twenty years, as a foreman. From 2006, he began to
experience a mounting absenteeism record related to a problem of
alcoholism. After each return to work, the City offered Mr. Saucier
various measures of accommodation.
After one of his many absences, Mr. Saucier signed a document
that outlined the conditions the City imposed with respect to a
possible return to work, including the obligation to undergo a
detoxification treatment and random drug testing. On October
1st, Mr. Saucier signed a return to work protocol with
similar requirements. These two documents constituted Mr.
Saucier's conditional reinstatement agreement.
Five months after his reinstatement, one of Mr. Saucier's
superiors detected the smell of alcohol around him and decided to
subject him to alcohol tests. Both of these tests revealed the
presence of alcohol. The employer decided to submit Mr. Saucier to
a medical examination and, based solely on the conclusion that he
had started drinking again, took the decision to dismiss him.
The CRT recognized that the City had the right, given the long
history of the employee, to impose certain conditions and grant him
one last chance to provide a consistent work record.
While the City insisted that the agreement for reinstatement was
breached based on positive test results, the CRT pointed out that
the employer did not explain the results, the operation or
reliability of these tests. The CRT went on to state that in the
circumstances, these tests failed to establish whether the employee
was under the influence of alcohol at work. The CRT described the
approach of Mr. Saucier's superiors as "dilettantism"
due to their failure to seek out Mr. Saucier's version of the
The CRT noted that the reinstatement agreement, in addition to
imposing the fulfillment of certain conditions by the employee,
also bound the employer and imposed its obligation to promote the
return and continued employment for the employee. As for Mr.
Saucier, although he previously had problems of absenteeism, he was
able to correct the situation upon his return and missed no more
days of work for reasons related to alcoholism. While the employee
complied with all requirements of the agreement, the City, on the
other hand, failed to meet its obligations, relying on test results
that do not prove that he was under the influence of alcohol at
work, subjecting the employee to an expert without grounds, and
dismissing Mr. Saucier without just and sufficient cause. The
reinstatement of the employee was ordered by the CRT.
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