Calgary Stampede: Can the fun be cause for termination?

Happy 100th Calgary Stampede from the Ladies of Elevated HR


After 10 days of the Calgary Stampede, I have to admit (like every year), I am “rodeo’d” out. It’s exhausting to keep up with the events, the fire works, the bands, the dancing, the outfits, the parades…and yes, the late nights and early mornings that begin with al-al-al–alcohol. From Irish cream pancakes, to early morning mimosas and whiskey sours, to lunch time beers, to evening cocktails and wine while watching the Chuck Wagon races, the last 10 days have been…well a blur!


The tricky part for Calgary employers? How do they possibly make sure that the “Drug and Alcohol” policy that they have devised so eloquently is actually upheld? My answer? It’s the same no matter what time of year it is…as long as you have communicated expectations appropriately.



If you smell alcohol on an employee, or think someone may be intoxicated at work, managers have the option to send them home. But employers do not have the right to fire employees with just cause. The only way you could have just cause is if the behavior was repeated and there was strong evidence that included failed urine sample tests, as well as well written, documented warnings.  As always: Termination for just cause is really, really tough to prove.


For employers in Calgary – we all know Stampede is a tradition. If you have standards that you want met during Stampede, I recommend you set those standards before the week begins.  As with all rules, make sure your employees know them as well as understand them. It’s your responsibility to a.) Communicate and then b.) Set the standard. If you’re the one out partying, missing meetings, and not hitting deadlines, it’s hard to blame your staff for simply following suit.  On the flip side, if it’s business as usual and you expect your staff to perform as per usual – make sure your staff know that.


The worst thing you can do is assume your staff know the rules. The best thing – communicate and make sure everyone is operating from the same base!


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