The importance of clear substance misuse guidelines

As an employer, implementing drug and alcohol testing in the workplace is a smart idea to ensure the safety and well being of employees while at work. However, employers need to ensure they have policies in place to protect themselves, and to be aware of the consequences of acting too quickly on positive drug or alcohol results.

In order to protect yourself an employer, it is best to have a clear policy and procedure around drug and alcohol testing and the consequences of a positive test to ensure that all workers are treated equally and to avoid charges of unfair dismissal if an employee’s test is positive for drugs or alcohol.

Testing is not considered discriminatory in the UK, however profiling workers to be screened is, and you as an employer need to make sure that everyone is getting the same treatment when it comes to testing. It is more difficult to enact a ‘spot testing’ practice as this can cause conflicts to an employees right to privacy, however if there is a cause for concern for health and safety reasons you can be more justified.

Data collected from substance testing should be treated carefully, as a positive test doesn’t necessarily mean that an employee is guilty of misconduct. A full investigation should be conducted before any disciplinary actions are taken. This can also help determine whether the matter is a health issue or a conduct issue, and if it is in fact a health issue such as addiction, the employer can offer rehabilitative assistance.

By setting out clear rules and policies around substance misuse and what constitutes as an illegal substance, employees will be expected to understand what is right and wrong and the consequences. If testing is to be used, then a clear procedure regarding the testing should be laid out so that employees understand that testing will take place and understand the consequences of having a positive test result.

Call us on 01302 365036 if you need information about Drug and Alcohol testing for your business or organisation. Workplace Drug Testing available in Doncaster, Barnsley, Sheffield and throughout South Yorkshire

Archive