Drug & Alcohol Policy in the workplace
Employers often seek the right to be able to randomly test employees in an attempt to reduce the incidence of drunkenness and drug-effected employees in the workplace as part of the occupational health and safety policy. In Re AMEU v Newlands Coal Pty Ltd, Coal Industry Tribunal, Bacon C, 14/1/1994, the employer required that AMEU members participate in an Alcohol Awareness Program, which involved random breath testing. The Union argued that this was a breach of civil liberties and, therefore, was an unfair work policy. The Tribunal determined that the scheme was not introduced to catch and sack employees. The random testing was part of a much wider strategy to modify employee behaviour with the result that employees don’t attend for work under the influence of alcohol. Employees are already required by statute to attend for work free from the influence of alcohol and drugs to an extent that they can perform their work safely.
We can provide the expertise on how to establish a policy for managing the misuse of alcohol and other drugs in the workplace. A single alcohol and other drug policy will not be suitable for all workplaces. Rather than advocate a particular approach, we can provide information on a range of initiatives. Businesses can consider incorporating one or more of these into an alcohol and other drug policy that is suitable for their workplace.We will develop your companies alcohol and drug testing program, that is intended to eliminate the use of illegal drugs, alcohol, and other controlled substances in your work place. Designed solely for the benefit of your employees, this program will provide reasonable safety on the job and protection from offending individuals.
As a example a simplified program is as below
Drugs and alcohol tests will be administered under the following conditions:
- To any employee when there is reasonable suspicion that he/she is under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol
- To any employee who is involved in a workplace accident which causes property damage or which requires examination and/or treatment by a licensed physician or medical facility
- Upon application for employment and as a condition of employment
Refusing a Drug and/or Alcohol Test
An employee’s refusal to submit to testing as stated above shall be grounds for immediate discharge.