We have an employee who applied for a job in which a driver’s license was required. He had been a casual employee and he indicated that he was working on his driver’s license and based on that, as well as the fact that “driving” wasn’t the primary role, but definitely would be required as the position would mean that the role involved being the “back-up” driver when regular driver and other shipper/receivers are off on vacation/sick. The employee has attempted to get his license several times and has not been successful over a 2-2 1/2 year period. We have been able to manage to-date, while still prompting him to work on his license, as we have had sufficient staffing, but currently we have been revisiting roles and trying to downsize staffing and the position really now requires a person to have their license.
Are we in a position where we are able to state to him that if he is not successful in obtaining the license at this time that he will be let go? Or would there be some legal ramifications if we did that?
Based on what you describe, I don’t see any legal ramifications. It’s pretty straightforward. An employee doesn’t have one of the essential qualifications of the job. There’s no indication that he belongs to any of the protected groups under human rights laws–age, disability, sex, race, religion, etc. And even if he was, a strong case can be made that having a driver’s licence is a bona fide occupational requirement for the position.
Other potential pitfalls to consider: Would firing the employee violate the terms of any contractual agreement or a collective agreement? Did you make any promises to the employee that he wouldn’t be fired for not having a driver’s licence? Barring any of these things–and they seem like remote possibilities–you should be good to go. Hope that helps. Glenn