Concrete Truck Driver 'unjustifiably Dismissed' After Cannabis Use, Authority Rules

Concrete Truck Driver 'unjustifiably Dismissed' After Cannabis Use, Authority Rules
Concrete Truck Driver 'unjustifiably Dismissed' After Cannabis Use, Authority Rules


The truck driver admitted smoking hashish throughout the weekend previous to his check however argued he was not below the affect or impaired whereas at work. (File photograph)

An Auckland concrete firm has been ordered to pay greater than $20,000 to a former worker who was sacked after utilizing cannabis.

Shane Hadfield labored as a concrete truck driver for Atlas Concrete from early 2016 till he returned a “non-negative” check for hashish in a random drug check in Might 2021.

Hadfield admitted smoking hashish throughout the weekend previous to the Monday check, however stated Atlas incorrectly concluded he was below the affect of medication as he was not impaired whereas at work, the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) heard.

Hadfield claimed he was unjustifiably dismissed and sought misplaced wages and compensation from Atlas. He additionally stated he was unjustifiably deprived on account of his suspension after the check.

Atlas argued that, given Hadfield admitted to drug use, the situations of his employment settlement, the corporate’s drug and alcohol police and the damaging nature of his function as a driver, the choice to dismiss him summarily was justified.


Chloe Swarbrick is happy with the ‘reality based mostly’ marketing campaign for hashish legalisation however says the identical cannot be stated for these opposed. (First revealed October 30, 2020)

On the day of his check, Hadfield signed a consent kind for the process and for the outcomes to be shared together with his employer.

The check was taken, and the consequence confirmed the drug display screen for THC – the primary psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – required additional evaluation.

The testing supplier contacted Atlas Takapuna depot supervisor Donovan Walker and suggested of the non-negative consequence.

Walker stated Hadfield walked into his workplace shortly after and stated “I f….. up boss, sorry,” occurring to say he had smoked hashish the Saturday earlier than, following an argument together with his spouse.

Hadfield was provided counselling earlier than being suspended from work. A laboratory check later confirmed a optimistic consequence for hashish.

At an investigation assembly on June 8 Hadfield stated he was conscious of the corporate’s drug coverage and Walker instructed him Atlas was prone to take into account the scenario severe misconduct, and a optimistic check consequence to be “under the influence.”

First Union organiser Stephen Hassan instructed the assembly Hadfield was not an everyday hashish person and utilizing it was uncharacteristic for him.

Given Hadfield had smoked hashish on the Saturday night time and didn’t attend work till the Monday morning, he wouldn’t have been impaired or below the affect of hashish when he attended work, Hassan stated.

He stated he defined urine exams have been for THC-acid and didn’t check for impairment or whether or not a employee was below the affect of hashish.

Hassan stated Walker responded his angle was “zero tolerance” and Hadfield shouldn’t have smoked hashish even on the weekend.

Atlas instructed the ERA this dialogue by no means came about.

The day after the assembly, Walker wrote to Hadfield saying his suggestions had been thought of however the non-negative consequence was in breach of the corporate’s drug and alcohol coverage.

The letter claimed a clause in his employment settlement stated attending work whereas intoxicated or inebriated or non-prescribed medicine was thought of severe misconduct and grounds for fast dismissal.

Nonetheless, the letter incorrectly referred to Hadfield’s earlier particular person employment settlement, not the collective settlement which utilized on the time of his check.

Walker went on to say the non-negative drug check “meets the definition of attending for work below the affect of non-prescribed medicine.”


Employment Relations Authority member Sarah Blick stated it was necessary to recollect random drug exams have been carried out for security causes.

“On this foundation I’ve reached the preliminary view that it’s acceptable to dismiss you with out discover.”

At a follow-up assembly the following day, Hadfield apologised, stated he had “stuffed up”, and that it will not occur once more if he was given a second likelihood.

Based on Hassan, Walker made it clear that he had terminated the employment of all different employees who had acquired non-negative drug outcomes.

Atlas instructed the authority it genuinely thought of Hadfield’s clarification together with Hassan’s declare that there was no impairment or affect.

On June 11, Atlas despatched a letter to Hadfield dismissing him for severe misconduct with quick impact.

Contemplating whether or not Hadfield’s suspension had unfairly deprived him, ERA member Sarah Blick stated the collective employment settlement solely gave Atlas the fitting to droop “on pay.”

Hadfield had been suspended with out pay from Might 31 till his dismissal and had been financially deprived consequently.

Blick additionally discovered Hadfield had a private grievance for unjustified drawback in relation to the suspension and Atlas was incorrect in claiming the difficulty was not raised in time.

Nonetheless, regardless of Hassan’s argument that urine exams didn’t check impairment or whether or not a employee was below the affect of hashish, Blick stated it was affordable for Atlas to depend on the testing because it did.

“It is vital to not lose sight about why these exams are undertaken – for security causes.”

Blick stated a good and affordable employer may have concluded Hadfield’s non-negative check consequence met the definition of “attending work below the affect” of medication and his dismissal was not substantively unjustified.

Procedurally, nonetheless, Atlas had failed in a number of areas, she stated.

Hadfield had not been instructed he had the fitting to seek the advice of a consultant when required to take a drug check, or referred to a rehabilitation programme after returning the non-negative consequence.

“There’s additionally no proof Atlas genuinely thought of Mr Hadfield’s clarification about his private circumstances resulting in the non-negative check nor his earlier good service as an worker when making the choice to dismiss.”

The dismissal letter didn’t point out whether or not a proposal of rehabilitation or different various disciplinary choices have been thought of and Atlas had “closed its thoughts” to any alternate options according to its “zero tolerance” strategy, Blick stated.

“I discover Atlas failed to fulfill the statutory check for justification. Atlas carried out a perfunctory investigation and its findings rested on a labelling of great misconduct within the [collective agreement] as warranting dismissal.

“In all of the circumstances the cumulative procedural defects within the investigation have been greater than minor and resulted in Mr Hadfield being handled unfairly.”

Atlas Concrete Restricted was ordered to pay Hadfield $7310.12 in misplaced wages and $16,000 in compensation for misery and humiliation.

Nonetheless, as he admitted the conduct which led to his grievances, the compensation can be diminished by 20%.

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