Pubdate: Fri, 01 Jun 2007
Source: Business Edge (Canada)
Copyright: 2005 Business Edge
Author: The Canadian Press
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Canada)
Bookmark: (Drug Testing)


More industry heavyweights will be heard in the challenge of a court
ruling on pre-employment drug testing involving Alberta's human rights
commission and a large U.S.-based construction firm.

An Alberta justice ruled last June that Kellogg Brown & Root Company
(KBR) discriminated against a man when it fired him from an oilsands
project near Fort McMurray after his drug test was positive for marijuana.

KBR's appeal of that ruling is to be heard on Oct.

The Alberta Court of Appeal has now granted intervener status in the
case to Syn-crude Canada Ltd., the Mining Association of British
Columbia and the Coal Association of Canada.

Michael McPhie, president of the mining association, said
pre-employment drug and alcohol testing helps make dangerous worksites
safer and is a policy used by many of the group's 60 member companies.

The Alberta case could have national repercussions if it stands, he
said. "This isn't a question of human rights. This is a question of
companies being responsible to both the worker who is being tested as
well his colleagues," McPhie said from Vancouver.

The case began in 2002 when John Chiasson was hired by KBR as a
receiving inspector at Syncrude's oilsands plant. He was required to
pass a pre-employment drug test.

Nine days after he started work the company learned his urine was
positive for the active ingredient in marijuana. He admitted that he
had smoked pot five days before the test and was fired under the
company's zero-tolerance policy.

Chiasson complained to the Alberta Human Rights Commission, which
ruled he was not discriminated against.

Last year, Justice Sheilah Martin of the Alberta Court of Queen's
Bench overturned that decision, ruling that Chiasson should have been
treated the same as someone with a drug addiction, considered a
disability in human rights case law. 
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