It may seem counter intuitive to tell your employer “It’s none of your business what I do when I’m not here” when they ask for a drug test. But that’s what an employee with the Halifax Streets Department in Nova Scotia told his boss after his boss says he smelled weed in the city truck in which the employee was a passenger.
The employee, listed only as “Mr. Jeffery” in the ruling, says he is a recreational user of cannabis and that he would have tested positive, but he maintains that there was no evidence of impairment or on-the-job drug use and refused the drug test – and the courts have backed the employee’s decision.
It all happened in early December 2011. Jeffery was riding with a driver in their city truck when a supervisor came over to an open window, peeked inside and said he smelled pot. Both Jeffery and the driver denied smelling anything (just like you should all do when confronted with similar situations). The supervisor then let the two go, telling them to “be safe”.
About two hours later, the two were called in to take a drug test. Jeffery refused, while the driver apparently tried and failed to do the test. Stage fright is a bitch.
Initially, Jeffery was ordered to a drug counselor but according to the report the man refused to talk about off-duty drug use. Because of that, they claimed he was refusing treatment and was fired for insubordination and violating the city’s substance abuse prevention policy.
But the employee appealed and the courts reinstated his job. They argued that there wasn’t any evidence to show on-job impairment and that it was reasonable for the employee to refuse the drug test.
Keep in mind, cannabis isn’t even legal in Nova Scotia.
All of this comes in stark contrast to the United States, where employers will fire you for off-work drug use and random drug testing without any probable cause for use is commonplace. In fact, many states still allow employers to fire employees for using legal medical and recreational marijuana, including Colorado.
By William Breathes