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Drug testing of employees – advice for employers

Drug testing of employees - advice for employersDrug testing, as many workers in the UK will know, is already a fact of life in some companies, and is now commonly practiced by many employers for safety, security and a host of other practical reasons.

The British government’s policy on workers’ rights regarding drug testing is that an employer can request a test from all employees if it is clearly set out as a condition of employment. The requirement should be recorded in employment contracts and detailed in the employee handbook. This also extends to new applicants for employment within a company.

An employee does have the option to refuse a test and he or she cannot be forced to take one. Refusal in such circumstances could lead to disciplinary action being taken against the employee but every step should be taken to avoid that if possible. Such refusals would normally be met with a welfare interview by the HR department to establish the reason for the refusal. Any help or guidance thought necessary is then offered to the employee.

Another aspect of current drug testing protocols in the UK is linked to guidance for employees who may be unhappy and disturbed about drug testing and monitoring. While an employee can resign – when facing a drug test or other non-compliance issues related to the law – the employer does have the right to test and monitor as outlined above. In turn, the option for an employee to resign from a job based on what he or she sees as an unfair drug testing policy is somewhat rare. Most employers manage such claims by reminding workers about their employment contract that covers drug testing in the workplace.

Top employee drugs testing offered

When it comes to drug tests, there are several companies that offer top industry standards and proven successful results for all types of drug testing at a workplace. In fact, today’s technology is almost foolproof when it comes to testing to detect illegal drug use by employees. However, it is essential for HR departments and employers to be fully informed on the specifics of the law and to set their own standards relating to drug and substance abuse (alcohol) both during and after the working day is completed.

Drug searches at work explained

There is some practical guidance offered by the British government when it comes to an employer’s right to search for illegal drugs in the workplace. Also, there is a view from various trade unions in the UK that safety and security when at work overrides worries that drug tests are violating the human rights of workers.

There are some basic guidelines for drug related searches. They should always respect an employee’s right to privacy, be administered by a same sex member and always be undertaken in the presence of a witness.

It is essential that employers remain fully informed about drug testing policies and legislation currently in force. All drug tests should be random and not targeted at certain employees or groups of workers.




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