Dec 072012
 December 7, 2012  Posted by  Court, Non-U.S., Workplace

Natalie Stechyson reports:

A union of New Brunswick mill workers arguing that mandatory, random alcohol testing breaches their right to privacy will have their appeal heard by the Supreme Court of Canada Friday.

The top court’s eventual decision has the potential to set a precedent for random alcohol tests in the workplace, and employers and unions across the country will be watching closely, said Nathalie Des Rosiers, the general counsel and executive director for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which is acting as an intervener.

Read more on National Post, which helpfully provides background on a case I knew nothing about:

In 2006, Irving Pulp & Paper — a division of J.D. Irving, Ltd. and branch of the powerful New Brunswick Irving family empire — adopted a workplace policy at its Saint John mill that included mandatory random alcohol testing, by breathalyzer, for employees holding safety-sensitive positions, according to court documents.

An employee and member of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada Local 30 was randomly tested and, even though the test revealed a blood-alcohol level of zero, the union filed a policy grievance to challenge the reasonableness of the procedure.

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