A Sniff Too Far? Arbitrator Rules Employer Cannot Conduct Random Drug Searches Using Drug Sniffing Dogs
An arbitrator was required to determine whether Agrium Vanscoy Potash Operations could require employees to submit to a search from a drug sniffing dog before they could enter the potash mine. The Union grieved against this policy, alleging that requiring all employees to submit to the random search process was “an unjustifiable violation of employees’ fundamental right of ‘privacy’.” The arbitrator concluded that a drug sniffing dog is a search that could interfere with an employee’s informational privacy and that Agrium did not have reasonable grounds. Employers will need specific evidence of a substance abuse problem before they can require employees to submit to drug searches or testing, even minimally invasive searches by drug sniffing dogs.