Ridout Barron


Breach of contract: Impairment on duty creates hazards for all

Impairment while at the workplace could create dangerous conditions for all. Even if it is not stipulated in an employment contract, being impaired at the workplace might be regarded as a breach of contract. The Occupational Health and Safety Act of Canada requires employers in Alberta and other provinces to address workplace impairment. Workers are encouraged to disclose impairment to prevent creating hazardous conditions for co-workers.

Along with alcohol, cannabis and other drugs, other causes of impairment include prescription drugs and fatigue. Temporary stress about personal problems such as financial difficulties or grief can cause impairment and so can anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions. Existing medical conditions that include potential seizures must also be reported to the employer.

Employers and co-workers might notice common indicators of impairment and take the necessary steps to protect the rest of the workforce. Signs of impairment could include slurred speech, altered demeanour, a changed health condition or lack of personal hygiene. Psychological red flags could include mood changes, forgetfulness, the inability to focus and inappropriate behaviour. If it is not a one-time incident, errors in judgement, increased absence and significant performance changes might indicate problems.

Business owners and employers in Alberta who are unsure of how to deal with breach of contract or other employment law matters can seek the support and guidance of a lawyer with extensive experience in this field of the law. Impulsive action upon employee misconduct could bring about legal problems for employers. Legal counsel can assess the circumstances and suggest the most appropriate way to proceed.

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Ridout Barron

802 13th Ave SW
Calgary, AB T2R 0L2
Phone: 587-315-8454
Fax: 403-271-8016
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