Can you drug test your employees? – comment by Peninsula Employment Law Director Alan Price

A damn report last week alleged that workers at Tottenham Hotspurs’ belated new stadium were drinking alcohol and using drugs while they were working on the construction of the 60,062 capacity project.

The allegations have sparked a PR nightmare for the construction company mentioned in the report. So how can companies stop drug use in their workspaces, and if they suspect a worker is using drugs, can they legally drug them?

While there is no legislation stating that employers have the right to test workers for drug use, it is clearly recognized that certain job roles require this type of monitoring and therefore it is legal to conduct these tests. Especially in areas where drug testing is taking place, there are usually areas where safety-critical decisions need to be made, e.g. B. aviation, construction or medicine.

However, it is important that employers adhere to a written policy on the use of illegal substances in their workplaces, stating that workers can occasionally be tested and the consequences of being influenced. Implementing a clear policy of nontolerance to drug use in an organization can potentially greatly deter employees thinking about using drugs and help maintain a safe work environment.

Employers can approach the testing process by doing the testing at random. Care must be taken that the unsystematic character of random samples is not observed, as an unfair selection of people can lead to claims for discrimination. Drug tests can be done in a number of ways, including urine, blood, hair, or saliva samples. However, they should always be carried out in such a way that the dignity and confidentiality of the employee is guaranteed. If an employer has reason to believe that an employee is under the influence or has been involved in an occupational accident that raises concerns about their behavior, they can also try to test them directly. Employees can refuse to be tested and this should not be treated as an automatic assumption of guilt. However, if there is a contractual obligation to provide a sample, the refusal should be dealt with in disciplinary proceedings. Employers can also allow the employee to be accompanied during the test.

If a test is returned with a positive result, employers should give the employee an opportunity to make a statement. An employee taking medication prescribed by a doctor can sometimes get a positive result on a drug test. Therefore, it is important that he identify the source of the result. If the result is an indication of drug use, they should treat the worker as part of their normal disciplinary process and dismiss the worker if warranted.

The results of a drug test are classified as personal data in relation to the employee. Therefore, all information about the test should be saved according to your privacy policy.

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