Smell of marijuana enough to suspect use by employee at work

Unifor argued there wasn’t evidence to prove worker smoked it at work
By effrey R. Smith
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 06/13/2016

An Alberta employer had grounds to suspend a worker for smoking marijuana at work based on three managers smelling it on the worker, an arbitrator has ruled.

The worker was a production line employee for Labatt Brewery at its Edmonton location. On March 25, 2015, he reported for work as usual for the start of his shift at 6 a.m. About 30 minutes after the start of his shift, the worker went to the "skybox," a control tower with large windows that overlooked the production line. He entered the skybox and asked the front-line manager, who was inside alone, for a pen to complete a report. The manager detected the odour of marijuana coming from the worker. He knew what marijuana smelled like, and he was sure there was no such smell in the skybox before the worker entered.

The manager also noticed that the worker, who was normally quiet, was talkative. After some discussion with a second manager, the front-line manager returned to the skybox and a third manager came in. The third manager asked what the smell was, and the first manager said it was marijuana. The third manager also checked out the employee change room and noticed a strong smell of marijuana there as well.