The Employment Relations Authority has declined interim reinstatement to an employee dismissed after failing repeated drug tests.

The employee was randomly tested in accordance with the employer’s policy and failed the test.  He was suspended without pay pending the disciplinary investigation and further tests.

He claimed to have accidentally ingested cannabis by eating tainted cakes, and gave details of another person who also failed their employer’s random testing after eating the same cakes.

The employer checked with the other employer (with consent) and discovered that the information given was not correct.  It also obtained scientific evidence from ESR discounting the employee’s explanation as not plausible.

The employee then failed a follow up test several weeks after the original incident and was dismissed.

The ERA held that interim reinstatement would not be ordered as the balance of convenience and overall justice favoured the employer. The dismissal could be justified and reinstatement would be unlikely.