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Translink ordered to stop drug testing pot-smoking SkyTrain attendant – BC

A SkyTrain attendant who smokes pot in his spare time won’t have to undergo any more random drug tests — for now.

Translink has been ordered to stop testing SkyTrain attendant David Soloman for cannabis, after he and his union filed a grievance on Nov. 21, 2018.

An interim ruling explains that the employee tested positive for cannabis during a periodic medical exam in September 2018, and was ordered to undergo twice-monthly randomized urine screening tests for one year.

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The case highlights a tension between employee privacy and public safety.

SkyTrain attendants are trained to operate the trains in case of an emergency, and under the employers’ policy, “employees must be fit for work and must not consume drugs or alcohol while on duty.”

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Off duty use of marijuana use is not prohibited.

In the ruling an arbitrator explained that Soloman’s position is considered “safety critical.”

READ MORE: Toronto police to ban officers from consuming cannabis within 28 days of reporting for duty

The grievance alleges that a chief medical officer, appointed by the company under railway safety legislation, improperly imposed a drug monitoring program on him, contrary to the Railway Medical Rules and the terms of the collective agreement.

CUPE Local 7000 argued that the testing is invasive and that tests showed Soloman doesn’t have a problem with substance abuse.

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The ruling notes he only smokes cannabis three to four times a week and doesn’t use it before or at work.

READ MORE: 2 more TTC employees fail random drug and alcohol testing

It adds that he felt that it was not the employer’s concern if he used marijuana outside of working hours.

The union requested an interim order suspending randomized drug testing, pending a full hearing of the grievance, which has been set to begin on Nov. 12, 2019.

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TransLink says it has no comment on the matter, while the union representing the worker, CUPE Local 7000, says it will be providing Global News with a statement Thursday.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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