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Queen's University

Direct Energy and Communications

A plumber came forward to his employer to admit he was a cocaine addict. The employer referred him to the EAP, which enrolled him in a drug rehabilitation program. The employee failed to finish the program and suffered a relapse one day on the job.  That day, he felt compelled to drive to a drug dealer in the company van and in company uniform to purchase cocaine, which he had in his possession when he then went to a client's home to do a plumbing job. The next day, he came forward to the employer and admitted what he had done and asked for help. The employer fired him. It later turned out that the employee suffered from PTSD and bipolar II disorder and required immediate and prolonged hospitalization. The Arbitrator held that his mental disorder had sparked his addiction, that his addiction had compelled him to buy drugs, and that this act of compulsion was non-culpable conduct. What the employee needed was to be rehabilitated not penalized. He ordered the employer to reinstate the grievor so that he could access the employer's benefit program. He cautioned, however, that any return to the workplace should be conditional upon clear medical evidence attesting to his fitness to work.

Kingston, Ontario, Canada. K7L 3N6. 613.533.2000