hri_Admin Staff asked 4 years ago

with the new drinking laws coming into effect, if an employee receives a DUI I have two questions 1) do they have to inform their employer if it does not impact their ability to do their job?, and 2) If it does impact their ability to do their job , other than reasonable accomodations, what is the employer obligated to provide?

1 Answers
Glenn Demby Staff answered 4 years ago

1) EMPLOYEE DUTY TO DISCLOSE: Depends on a bunch of things:

  • Was the employee convicted or simply arrested? If the latter, the employee may actually be able to prove his/her innocence.
  • Impact on ability to do job: I wouldn’t be so quick to concede the fact that the DUI doesn’t have an impact. It very well might if: i. the employee’s job is safety-sensitive; ii. the employee needs to drive to do his/her job duties–the new Alberta DUI licence suspension penalties may thus render the employee unable to do the job; iii. the DUI casts doubt on his judgment, integrity or character, especially if such Qs already exist; iv. the job requires the highest standards of morality and conduct, e.g., law enforcement, public service, religious-based, etc.
  • Was the employee off duty at the time of the DUI? Clearly, the need to notify (and justification of discipline for failure to notify) is much stronger if the DUI happened while the employee was on duty
  • Do your HR policies require disclosure of DUI convictions/arrests (assuming, of course, you can justify why you have such a policy)

2) ACCOMMODATIONS? The employee would be entitled to accommodations only if his/her alcohol use is the result of an addiction or dependency that would be deemed a disability under the Human Rights Code. Casual use is NOT a disability and thus not a bar to discipline. Even if accommodations ARE required, you need only provide them to the point of undue hardship. A strong case can be made that allowing an employee with a DUI conviction to keep his/her job would be undue hardship, depending on the circumstances (discussed in the second bullet above). And to directly answer the Q, if accommodations are in order, that’s all you’d have to provide (unless I’m missing something here).
Final note: DUI, on or off duty, has potentially serious employment ramifications not just in AB but everywhere. I don’t think the new, tougher penalties (which, BTW, aren’t unique to Alberta) are all that significant–except maybe to the extent that the license suspension penalties magnify the impact on ability to perform the job for employees that drive.
Great Qs and I hope the answers help. Glenn

Monique Jamieson replied 4 years ago

Yes our HR policies do require the disclosure of such convictions etc.
Thank you for your response. It fits with our understanding as well.