Canada judges uphold worker's firing, saying pot use not a disability

June 23, 2013 at 6:53 PM

OTTAWA, June 23 (UPI) -- A court panel in Ottawa upheld the city's decision to fire a city employee who said his penchant for marijuana was a disability.

Claude Lavoie was fired after he was busted for buying marijuana while in a city vehicle. The department for which he worked was not reported.

Lavoie pleaded guilty to possessing a controlled substance, but said the city was obliged to accommodate him under the Ontario Human Rights Code because his penchant for pot qualified as a disability.

A divisional court panel upheld an arbitrator's decision in 2011 that sided with the city, the Ottawa Sun reported Friday.

"[The arbitrator's] decision is reasonable," the divisional court judges ruled.

Co-workers testified at his arbitration hearing that they didn't realize Lavoie was regularly high during work. Another employee said he found marijuana in Lavoie's work vehicle but didn't report him because Lavoie promised it would never happen again.

A doctor assessed Lavoie two years after he was fired and said his claims of having a disability were based on self-diagnoses.

The panel of judges awarded the city of Ottawa $4,775 in court costs.

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