Employee must make an effort to overcome addiction

Release date: September 3, 2019

A longshoreman contested his dismissal for absenteeism related to his cocaine addiction and his refusal to sign a last-chance agreement. The employee had failed a drug test after attempting to falsify the results. According to the arbitrator, in the case of an employee with an addiction problem, the employer is obliged to give the employee a real and reasonable chance to overcome the addiction, not to keep on employing the person until the employee solves his or her problem. The employer may not be held responsible if the employee fails to overcome addition following appropriate treatment. In the case at hand, the employer gave the employee every opportunity to get back on his feet, given the employee’s participation in three inpatient rehabilitation programs. Only after the third rehabilitation program did the employer ask the employee to sign a last-chance agreement, which was a very reasonable request. The dismissal was upheld.

Syndicat des débardeurs, SCFP, section locale 375 and Association des employeurs maritimes
2019EXPT-405, 2019 QCTA 8, Me Denis Provençal

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