RAILWAY OFFICE OF ARBITRATION
& DISPUTE RESOLUTION
CASE NO. 3929
CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAY COMPANY
The discharge of Conductor “R” for accumulation of demerits in excess of sixty and violation of the Company’s Drug and Alcohol Policy.
UNION’S STATEMENT OF ISSUE:
Following the incident, the grievor was required to undergo drug and alcohol testing. The grievor tested positive for a prohibited substance in both the urine and saliva tests. An investigation was held into this matter, following which the grievor was assessed a discharge for violation of the Drug and Alcohol Policy.
incident the grievor has sought and received treatment and counselling and has
successfully remained drug free. The
The Company disagrees.
(SGD.) B. R. BOECHLER
There appeared on behalf of the Company:
P. Payne –
Manager, Labour Relations,
K. Morris –
Sr. Manager, Labour Relations,
D. Crossan – Manager, Labour Relations, Prince George
J. Orr – Assistant Vice-President, BC South,
And on behalf of the
M. A. Church –
B. R. Boechler –
R. A. Hackl –
B. Willows –
J. Robbins –
P. Vickers –
Employee R – Grievor
AWARD OF THE ARBITRATOR
before the Arbitrator confirms that the grievor suffered from an addiction to
cocaine for a number of years. The record discloses that on
If this case was simply about an employee being at work in a safety sensitive position while impaired by a narcotic, the grievor’s case would be difficult to make. However, the record discloses much more. The material before the Arbitrator confirms, beyond controversy, that following his discharge the grievor followed an intensive programs of rehabilitation and has succeeded in bringing his cocaine addiction under control. Remarkably, his success in that regard and his fitness to return to work are confirmed in written communications from three separate doctors from the Company’s own Occupational Health and Service, including its Chief Medical Officer. The medical evidence before the Arbitrator is unequivocal, including the opinion of the Company’s own doctors that the grievor has undergone a successful rehabilitation and is fit to work. It may be noted that their opinions are, in part, couched in terms of proper conditions and ongoing monitoring being put in place.
The grievor is an employee of some twenty-five years’ service. While it is true that he had an extensive disciplinary record, it is not insignificant that that record is almost wholly comprised of chronic attendance problems of the kind commonly associated with the difficulties of employees who suffer an addiction. R’s record discloses that he had only one operating rules infraction over twenty-five years of service, prior to the incident which led to his discharge. In the circumstances I am satisfied that this is an appropriate case for a substitution of penalty, albeit on conditions fashioned to protect the Company’s interests.
is therefore allowed, in part. The Arbitrator directs that the grievor be reinstated
into his employment, without compensation for wages and benefits lost, without
loss of seniority and subject to the following conditions. As a condition of
reinstatement the grievor shall abstain from the consumption of any illicit
drugs or narcotics, so long as he remains employed by the Company. For a period
of two years he shall be subject to random, unannounced drug testing, to be
administered in a non-abusive fashion. For the same period he shall maintain
involvement with a support group, such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics
Anonymous, confirming to the Company and to the