Pubdate: Fri, 12 Aug 2016
Source: Metro (Calgary, CN AB)
Copyright: 2016 Metro Canada
Author: Brodie Thomas
Page: 9


Marijuana use big issue for employers, expert says

Darrin Rogowski said he is launching a human rights complaint after
his employer let him go in late July because he uses medical marijuana
after hours.

Rogowski, 30, was working for Inertia Environmental - an Okotoks-based
hydrovacing company. He worked on the company's trucks, which use
high-pressure water to move earth when excavation by other means isn't

"When I got my medical marijuana licence back in May, I told one of my
supervisors I had it, and nothing else was really said about it," he

But on July 27, he was told he would be let go since they knew he
could not pass a urine test.

"I said, 'Well, I can get a letter from my doctor stating I don't do
it at work. I'd be fine at work,'" said Rogowski. "I don't see what
the big deal is. It's like taking a Tylenol or any other

Rogowski uses marijuana for chronic back and neck pain after being in
several car accidents. He said he's also been diagnosed with glaucoma,
although he hasn't discussed marijuana use with his

Rogowski said he only uses it in the evening for pain relief and as a
sleep aid.

Metro contacted Inertia Environmental but the company declined to
comment on the case.

However Neil Tidsbury, president of Construction Labour Relations
(CLR), said authorized marijuana use is becoming a much bigger issue
for employers in the construction industry who have to balance the
rights and safety of all workers on the jobsite.

He said no level of government has helped employers navigate this
tricky situation.

"The legislative guidance as to what employers should do in these
cases is pretty much a vacuum," said Tidsbury.

Rogowski has mailed a complaint to Alberta Human Rights

"They said I have a case, but again it's kind of unprecedented
territory right now," he said. "Companies right now don't know what
they should be doing. Even if I don't get my job back, maybe it will
open eyes to change laws. "
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MAP posted-by: Matt