Guide

Workplace policies on smoking, drugs and alcohol

Workplace testing for drugs and alcohol

Drugs and alcohol testing is a sensitive issue. If this is to form part of your policy, it is essential that employees and the workforce are consulted.

Workforce consultation

A workforce consultation is needed because of the practical, legal, and ethical issues involved. It can also provide valuable insight into how the policy can be implemented successfully.

Limitations of drugs and alcohol testing

The limitations of drug and alcohol testing are that it can’t:

  • measure to what extent an employee’s performance is impaired by a substance
  • the exact time when the drug was used
  • in some cases, tell which substance was used

Case law under the Human Rights Act is emerging in this area. You should therefore get legal advice and the views of the Labour Relations Agency (LRA) before starting any testing.