How to carry out drug and alcohol testing of employees
Author: Elaine Ramsay
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- Consider at the outset whether or not there is a real and reasonable need to implement a drug and alcohol testing policy.
- Carry out an impact assessment weighing up the benefit of such a policy against the negative consequences for employees.
- Comply with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the associated guidance from the Information Commissioner at all times.
- Ensure that contracts of employment refer to a requirement to undergo drug or alcohol testing.
- Draft a clear drug and alcohol testing policy.
- Obtain consent before carrying out testing, even where there is a contractual right to do so.
- If operating a "with cause" testing programme, make sure that managers are trained on when employees should be referred for a test.
- Ensure that any random testing of employees is not discriminatory.
- Engage a professional organisation to take and analyse samples from employees.
- If a positive test result is received, consider whether or not the drug or alcohol issue impacted on the employee's work, other staff or health and safety before reaching any decision on disciplinary action.
- Give due consideration to whether or not any assistance can be given to an employee with an addiction problem before reaching the decision to dismiss.