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Revocation of Job Offer is Non-Discriminatory: Tribunal

In the case of Greidanus v Inter Pipeline Limited, the Human Rights Tribunal of Alberta (“Tribunal”) ruled that an employer did not engage in discrimination when rescinding a job offer after the candidate failed a pre-employment drug test.

The complainant had been extended an offer for the position of Business Continuity and Emergency Management Advisor. Notably, this role was categorized as safety-sensitive, and the offer explicitly mandated the candidate to undergo a pre-employment drug test. The complainant testified that he was aware the job offer was conditional and included the requirement for a drug test. Additionally, the testing company notified him that cannabis screening was part of the process.

Upon conducting the drug test, the results indicated the presence of cannabis, leading the employer to retract the job offer. The complainant contended that the withdrawal amounted to discrimination based on a physical disability, contrary to the Alberta Human Rights Act. Specifically, he asserted that he experienced symptoms related medical condition/disease and used cannabis for medical reasons. The Tribunal acknowledged the complainant’s physical disability.

However, a significant challenge for the complainant was that he disclosed his disability and medicinal cannabis use only after the job offer had been rescinded. Consequently, the Tribunal determined that the employer was unaware of the complainant’s physical disability when revoking the job offer. Moreover, there were no indications prompting the employer to inquire about a potential disability.

In light of these circumstances, the Tribunal concluded that the complainant’s disability did not influence the decision to retract the job offer. Therefore, the Tribunal found that the employer did not discriminate against the complainant in this instance.

Points to Ponder:

  • The impact of contemporaneous documentation of communication between the parties, which allowed the employer, in this case, to demonstrate to the Tribunal’s satisfaction that the candidate did not disclose either that they had a medical condition resulting in a disability or that they would require accommodation.

Items to Consider:

  • The Duty to Inquire:  What is it and why was it not determined to be a mitigating factor in this case.
  • What is an Individualized Assessment and why did the Tribunal find it was not required in this circumstance.