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Employee rights: Drug and alcohol tests in Ontario workplaces

Random drug and alcohol tests in the workplace are usually against the law. In Ontario, human rights laws state that employers don't have the right to test for drugs or alcohol use just because an employee is suspect. It is against the worker's employee rights. The testing must have some connection to carrying out a job safely and in the right manner. 

Even if the job is one that involves using heavy machinery, an employer would need a good reason to test for alcohol or drugs, and it's never all right to be asked to take such a test at a job interview. There are instances, however, when an employer might be allowed to ask an employee to undergo such testing. If an employer has reasonable cause that a worker is on the job under the influence of alcohol or drugs or an employee got hurt on the job, an employer might have just cause for asking an employee to undergo testing.

Discriminating against an employee because of prior drug or alcohol dependence is also against the law as is discriminating against a worker suspected of having a drug or alcohol issue. If the results of a drug or alcohol test is the reason behind the dismissal of an employee, an employer may have violated the employee's human rights. The employee may be able to make a human rights violation claim.

The laws pertaining to human rights in the workplace are varied and complex. Those employees who believe their employee rights have been violated would do well to discuss their case with an Ontario lawyer. After hearing a client's story, a lawyer will provide advice and guidance on the steps to take next.

Source:, "Can an employer make me take a drug or alcohol test?", Accessed on Dec. 22, 2017

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