One aspect of employment law which has always puzzled me is the long running battle between workers and management over random drug testing.
Before taking to the law I tried my hand briefly at honest labour, working in the mines and in construction, lasting long enough in each venue to realize that not only was it too much like hard work, but that a fellow could get seriously hurt quite easily on the job; and to realize too that the person most at risk from an employee impaired by drugs or alcohol , were his co-workers.
Surely, one would think, it is in everyone’s interest to identify and deal with stoned workers, and it appears that at least the Alberta Court of Appeal agrees with me, handing down an important decision recently confirming Suncorp Energy’s right to conduct random dug tests on workers at its Alberta oilsands work sites.
The workers in question are the ones driving around in huge 400 ton trucks, and operating monster cranes, so commons sense would seem to dictate that Suncorp has a legitimate reason to confirm the worker’s sobriety.
Not according to Unifor, the union involved. They are vowing to take the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada, calling the decision a gross violation of workers rights, and suggesting that random testing neither reduces accidents nor improves work place safety. Sorry Unifor, I find that hard to believe, and if I were working in the Oilsands, I’d kinda like to know that the guy driving the beomoth bearing down on me wasn’t high as a kite!
Still it could be worse – as Rush Limbaugh once quipped :
“Did you know that the White House drug test is multiple choice ?”