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Use of medical marijuana at work poses challenges for employers: experts

Discussion in 'Canadian Patients' started by VIANARCHRIS, Sep 23, 2015.

  1.  
    VIANARCHRIS

    VIANARCHRIS Well-Known Member

    TORONTO — As medical marijuana gains traction as a treatment option for a host of conditions including chronic pain and other conditions, Canadian employers could find themselves grappling with a sticky issue.

    "Individuals have the right to equal treatment ... without discrimination on the grounds of disability," says Jan Robinson, managing principal at human resources firm Morneau Shepell.

    "Medical cannabis now needs to be viewed like every other doctor-prescribed drug."

    But although employers have a duty to accommodate workers' medical conditions, experts say that duty must be balanced with the need to keep the workplace safe. That can be challenging, especially if employees perform duties such as operating machinery.

    "There's no hard or fast rule to this," says Natalie MacDonald, an employment lawyer and the co-founder of Rudner MacDonald LLP. "It's got to be determined on a case-by-case basis — as most things in employment law do."

    Experts says the duty to accommodate comes with an important caveat — it must not result in undue hardship for the employer.

    While there is no strict definition of what constitutes undue hardship, MacDonald says the courts will consider a number of factors including how much financial difficulty the company would endure and whether accommodating the employee would compromise workplace safety.

    "A small organization that has to incur serious financial hardship as a result of trying to accommodate an employee may cross the test of undue hardship," MacDonald said.

    A recent decision issued by the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal illustrates some of the limits that apply to the employer's responsibility to accommodate workers' needs.

    The Tribunal ruled in July that B.C.-based Selkin Logging did not violate John French's human rights by refusing to allow the logging contractor to use marijuana while on the job.

    The company, which has a "zero tolerance" policy on marijuana use, had argued that it did not discriminate against French based on his use of cannabis to handle the symptoms of cancer, but rather was concerned about safety.

    In addition, French was not authorized by Health Canada to possess medical marijuana, although he claimed he was using the drug to ease cancer-related pain as per his doctors' recommendations, according to court documents.

    MacDonald says that if French had proper medical documentation, the outcome of the case may have been different. However, safety concerns still need to be taken into account, she adds.

    One alternative way to accommodate a worker's needs would be to provide the worker with a leave of absence until the medical issue is resolved, MacDonald said.

    "In some cases, it may be that the employee needs to be provided with alternative forms of work that don't attract any particular safety concerns," MacDonald said.

    As cannabis becomes a more popular treatment choice — Health Canada has estimated there could be nearly half a million users by 2024 — the issue is likely to start cropping up at workplaces across the country.

    "We are starting to recognize that this trend will commence very shortly across Canada," said Robinson, noting that Morneau Shepell has been advising its clients to review their existing drug and alcohol policies to ensure they are adequate.

    "If they don't look at their drug policies now, they may have issues in the future," she said.

    Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press
     
  2.  
    Jackal69

    Jackal69 Well-Known Member

    Well my employer knows and don't care that I smoke.... what they concern themselves is if my back can handle the work..... that's how it should be
     
    spider9, Farmer.J, WHATFG and 3 others like this.
  3.  
    VIANARCHRIS

    VIANARCHRIS Well-Known Member

    Apparently, Scouts Canada is not such an employer, so I found out. I don't plan on telling the new employer. I'm about to force Scouts to deal with it though, they put me through hell and I don't want them doing it to the next guy. I've given them a chance to fix it before I file a human rights complaint but I don't have much faith in anything substantial happening. They seem to be the type of organization that needs to be sued or embarrassed into doing anything...I'm just the guy to do that.
     
  4.  
    Jackal69

    Jackal69 Well-Known Member

    Just remember this may bring unwanted attention to your smoking... but good on you man.... always keep a level head no matter what they try to say and do
     
    doingdishes and GrowRock like this.
  5.  
    torontoke

    torontoke Well-Known Member

    Shepell manages my former work benefits and they aren't as progressive as this article paints them. They wanted 30 forms filled out to cover my mj script. I managed to convince my Dr to fill out the forms and they still refuse to cover it.
    It must be nice to ride the fence and give advice and comments to both sides without choosing one.
     
    SSGrower, whitebb2727 and GrowRock like this.
  6.  
    Jackal69

    Jackal69 Well-Known Member

    Well if you don't have to do that for a pill then..... sounds kind of discriminating
     
    Farmer.J, GrowRock and VIANARCHRIS like this.
  7.  
    torontoke

    torontoke Well-Known Member

    Yup your right
    And what exactly does the fact that it's discriminating change?
    Mj patients have been looked down on by everyone already anyway.
     
  8.  
    doingdishes

    doingdishes Well-Known Member

    you will have 2 choices in your complaint-if you do it "off the record" you can get your settlement non taxable but if you go public, you'll have to declare it as income....if you do it publicly (not taking mediation) then the record will be public record. if you go to mediation and work out a deal, that will not be public record.
     
  9.  
    VIANARCHRIS

    VIANARCHRIS Well-Known Member

    Scouts already brought unwanted attention to my smoking by making that information available to a whole shit load of people-with no need to know. I've reached an age and attitude that I just don't give a shit what others think and I will not be pushed around. I have options to keep my name out of the public during any hearings but I don't know if I'll use it. It's all new to me, so I'll roll with the punches to get through it. It would be nice my former employer just took action to remove a few offending members and put policies in place to ensure it doesn't happen again. I'm not after money...just change.
     
    WHATFG, GrowRock and Jackal69 like this.
  10.  
    VIANARCHRIS

    VIANARCHRIS Well-Known Member

    I have just started reading the info on the process but I haven't gotten to choosing 'off record'...I'm not sure what that involves? I guess I'll learn! Do you have some experience?
     
  11.  
    doingdishes

    doingdishes Well-Known Member

    i do. i had to take a formel employer there after they fired me when i got back from medical leave.
    they ask if you want to go to mediation. that means closed door and the decision will be kept private. if you say no to mediation, the decision will be published for anyone to read it. if you stay private, there's no tax on your settlement but you and them will know about it. if you go public, you'll get taxed on your "winnings" and it's open to the public. i think the Scouts would rather it kept under wraps. all depends on how pissed off you are. i kept mine private
     
  12.  
    Jackal69

    Jackal69 Well-Known Member

    I don't look down on ya... unless your ... like a goth freak hahahaha
     
    GrowRock, VIANARCHRIS and torontoke like this.
  13.  
    VIANARCHRIS

    VIANARCHRIS Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info. I don't care if it is public, but I'm sure Scouts would like to avoid any negative publicity. I am not after a financial settlement, I just want to force a change in attitudes . I'm not pissed enough that I want to detract from the good they do for kids, but I don't want them to be able to discriminate against other volunteers or employees. If nobody speaks up, nothing will change.
     
  14.  
    doingdishes

    doingdishes Well-Known Member

    exactly
    when you go for human rights though, there's a payout.
    go in with a list of what you want and see if they'll do it. if you never ask, you never get.....even if it seems off the wall-have a plan or a good reason why.
    i think they'll want mediation so it stays out of the public too
     
    VIANARCHRIS likes this.
  15.  
    CalyxCrusher

    CalyxCrusher Well-Known Member

    Given all the sex abuse scandals theyve kept hush hush over the years I agree
     
  16.  
    redi jedi

    redi jedi Well-Known Member

    You should be far more concerned about a pedo troop leader...
     
    GroErr, zoic, VIANARCHRIS and 2 others like this.
  17.  
    VIANARCHRIS

    VIANARCHRIS Well-Known Member

    He seems to forget the very important fact that not only did I not have to sue, I was asked by the organization executive to draft a policy that would protect my rights while ensuring there was no potential for harm to children. I did, and it's what they use for mmj patients nationwide.
     
    GroErr, zoic, cannadan and 6 others like this.
  18.  
    CalyxCrusher

    CalyxCrusher Well-Known Member

    He also seems to have been either kicked in the head by a horse, played under power lines as a kid or ate paint chips. What kind of persons FIRST reaction to something that doesnt involve them is the post Blueballs created? A fucken snowflake bitch practicing recreational outrage.
     
    GroErr, zoic, cannadan and 5 others like this.
  19.  
    redi jedi

    redi jedi Well-Known Member

    Nah..this guy is the reason lawn darts were banned
     
    GroErr, gb123, CalyxCrusher and 3 others like this.
  20.  
    gb123

    gb123 Well-Known Member

    cool, that's awesome.
    you'll be accepted then..
     
    The Hippy likes this.

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