When Can You Test Your Employees for Drugs and Alcohol?
In Australia, drug and alcohol tests are widely used by companies. For some businesses such as aviation, transport, and construction, drug testing is compulsory.
The amended Building code in September 2015 by the Australian Government requires drug and alcohol testing on construction sites to ensure higher standards of workplace safety.
As an employer, you have the authority to insist on a drug test, provided you have a workplace drug policy. There are several reasons why you may request drug testing such as:
Is Drug Testing at Work Legal in Australia?
Absolutely yes. You can do drug tests at your workplace anywhere in Australia with the full backing of the law. However, you must have a working drug and alcohol policy before carrying out the drug test.
What this means is that you must educate your employees about your drug and alcohol policy before performing any drug test. Your employees should know the types of drugs they will be tested for.
So yes, a drug test at your workplace is a fully legal practice you have no cause to worry about as long as you have a standing drug policy that your employees must adhere to.
Allowing alcohol consumption at any workplace is unwise. If an employee becomes unproductive, violent, or causes an accident as a result of being drunk at work, you cannot terminate his employment on the grounds of alcohol abuse.
Therefore, it is only reasonable to have a clear policy on drugs and alcohol abuse at your workplace to hold employees accountable for their actions in any drug-related misconduct and to have legal grounds for disciplinary actions against them.
When Can You Test Employees for Drugs?
Part of your responsibility as an employer is to provide a safe workplace for employees by ensuring a drug and alcohol-free environment.
Consequently, if you suspect an employee of using drugs or alcohol at your workplace, you can request a drug test in line with your company policy. This is legal provided you have a policy that prohibits the use of alcohol and other specific drugs at your workplace.
Drug and alcohol tests are ideal for employees who perform safety-sensitive duties such as transporting passengers or goods, operating heavy machinery, or enforcing the law.
Can an Employee Decline a Drug or Alcohol Test?
Your employee reserves the right to refuse an invitation to a drug or alcohol test. However, in light of your company’s drug and alcohol policy, the staff can face disciplinary action and dismissal.
So if summoned by the Fair Work Commission, you can easily report that the employee’s refusal to take a drug test under reasonable suspicion of drug abuse was a breach of your company’s drug and alcohol policy.
Hence, your workplace drug and alcohol policy should always clearly state the disciplinary actions that would be taken against an employee if he declines a drug test.
What Happens if an Employee Tests Positive for Drugs or Alcohol?
The next action you take when an employee tests positive for drugs should be in line with your company’s drug and alcohol policy.
The first thing you do is inform the staff member that he or she has tested positive for drugs. Then proceed with the well-developed steps for handling the situation.
Counselling is the first step used by many Australian companies in dealing with first-time drug use cases in the workplace. Further tests are done to determine if the employee is adhering to the drug-free policy. If he consistently tests positive, then it can result in his dismissal.
How Is Employment Drug Testing Conducted?
Drug and alcohol tests are performed using an absorbent swab to collect a person’s saliva or a urine sample to identify the presence of drugs or alcohol in the system.
Both Saliva and Urine tests can be used to detect the presence of a wide range of illicit drugs.
Workplace drug policies are highly effective in deterring employees from using drugs and alcohol at the workplace.
Workplace Drug Testing Kits
Australia Drug Testing provides quality drug and alcohol test kits that are simple to use, highly sensitive, fast, and reliable. You should always use products that are certified to Australian Standards to avoid device malfunctions which could cause a false positive.Our testing kits are sourced from the best products in the market to match your various workplace needs:
- Alcohol test kits
- Urine drug test kits
- Saliva drug test kits