There are a number of issues employers should consider before introducing drug & alcohol testing into their workplace. First & foremost, an employer must consider if they have a right to drug & alcohol test their workers? HR professionals support businesses.

Drug & Alcohol Testing – Generally industrial tribunals have determined that drug and alcohol testing is an intrusion of a worker’s privacy as an employer has no control of what a worker does during their leisure time, unless the after hours conduct has the potential to damage the business or its reputation. Therefore, the only time an employer can introduce drug and alcohol testing into the workplace is on work, health and safety grounds. That is if a worker turning up to work under the influence of alcohol and drugs puts their health and safety or that of other people at risk the employer would have reasonable grounds to introduce testing especially if the business is situated within a medium to high risk industry.

Once an employer has determined if they have a right to introduce drug and alcohol testing into their workplace, they need to ensure that they have an appropriate policy in place that supports this practice but also outlines the stance of the business on drugs and alcohol. This policy should include:

  • What substances are prohibited
  • If the employer will be carrying out drug and alcohol testing and the process involved
  • What happens if a worker is found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol

In the context of unfair dismissal law, employers should ensure their workers understand the terms of the alcohol and drug policy as well as the consequences of any breaches.

When terminating a worker for drug or alcohol related matters the absence of a drug and alcohol policy can prove to be a costly error if the employer is put in a situation where they need to defend an unfair dismissal claim.

Need a Drug & Alcohol policy for your business?

For assistance in developing a drug and alcohol policy for your workplace and/or determining if your organisation has grounds to introduce drug and alcohol testing contact our team for assistance.