Operations manager was fired for alleged drug abuse. Then he sued Cermaq

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Unfair dismissal.

A 35-year-old man from Alta, Finnmark, Northern Norway, filed a lawsuit against his former employer, where he had been employed since 2010.

The man, who worked at one of Cermaq’s fish farms, was suspended in April and dismissed in May last year. Cermaq received an anonymous tip-off that the 35-year-old had used cocaine and both produced and sold moonshine, the news site iFinnmark reports.

A urine sample was said to have shown weak cocaine results, and the 35-year-old was then suspended with immediate effect. The B sample sent to the laboratory later showed a negative result.

To uncover cocaine use, the employer asked for a hair sample from the 35-year-old. On the advice of his union, he refused. Cermaq then took action and dismissed the man.

The 35-year-old then sued Cermaq. In April, the case was dealt with in a district court.

According to the ruling, the court decided that a hair sample could not prove the extent of any substance abuse, or whether the 35-year-old was intoxicated at work or in his spare time in such a way that it affected his work.

The court then concluded that the dismissal was unfair.

Cermaq was sentenced to pay the 35-year-old EUR 82,000 in compensation for financial loss and EUR 7,500 in restitution. Furthermore, Cermaq was ordered to EUR 25,000 in legal costs.

Since the 35-year-old was dismissed from Cermaq, he has worked for another fish farming company outside Finnmark. Now he wants to start again in Cermaq.

“I’ve quit my job last night, and I’m going to start again in Cermaq. I haven’t heard anything yet, but I expect them to get in touch very soon. The lawyers are in contact with each other, the man told iFinnmark.