An employee responsible for a minor, although unusual, accident
in a company parking lot was justified in refusing to submit to an
alcohol and drug test, a labour arbitrator has found.
The employee was an electrician. His position was
safety-sensitive. When backing up to park a vehicle, he backed into
the only other vehicle in the parking lot.
The employer demanded that he submit to a post-incident drug and
alcohol test. The employee refused, citing advice that he had
received from his union.
The arbitrator found that nobody had thought that the employee
was impaired. There were no signs of impairment. After the
accident, the employee sat through a half-hour investigative
meeting and "could not give anyone in the meeting the
slightest suggestion of impairment". Two managers, who
were in the meeting, did not think he was impaired. The
managers concluded that he could drive home safely. The cause
of the accident was obvious: the employee's carelessness, which
the employee admitted. The managers were "reasonably
able to exclude the possibility that drug or alcohol
impairment" may have caused the accident.
As such, the demand that the employee submit to an alcohol and
drug test was not justified.
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