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The effects of cocaine use on employment

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As we have written about before, being suspected of drug use can have serious consequences. Not only could someone face criminal drug charges, but he or she could also have an untold number of problems at work, at home and in one’s personal life. By working with a criminal defence lawyer, however, someone charged with drug crimes can at least alleviate some of the more difficult aspects — the drug charges.

Still, even a mild association with drugs can cost many Canadians their jobs. It is true that the Canadian Human Rights Act requires employers to make accommodations for employees who live with drug or alcohol addictions, but that doesn’t mean that employers can’t argue that the addiction could be a threat or that there are no accommodations that can be made.

It appears that Canadian Pacific Railway is trying to argue something similar with regard to one of its former employees. The railroad company had fired a locomotive engineer after he tested positive for cocaine. According to the railway, there had been a slight incident involving the locomotive engineer which prompted the testing.

The Canadian Railway Office of Arbitration ordered the railway to return the engineer to his position.

Though this is not a matter of criminal drug charges, it is still an important reminder that it is not just criminal charges Canadians suspected of drug use must fear. There are a number of employers who would think nothing more of trying to find a reason to terminate an individual’s employment for drug use.

Source: The Toronto Star, “CP Rail to fight order to hire back engineer who used cocaine,” Vanessa Lu, July 17, 2014

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