Drug and Alcohol Testing at the Workplace – Emerging Trends
Drug and alcohol policies have been in the spotlight in 2014.
There have been a number of key developments and trends that are worth noting:
· There is a growing consensus that urine based testing for drugs is
not the Fair Work Commission’s ( FWC) preferred method for
testing for impairment.
· However, there has been a small shift towards recognising the reasonableness
of policies that allow businesses, in some cases, to test for, and take disciplinary
action in respect of, evidence of drug use generally – regardless of whether
the use has caused any impairment at work.
· Increasingly, governments are seeking to regulate in this space.
The most notable example of this is the Victorian Construction Code which
includes specific requirements for employers working on government-funded
construction projects to have and implement drug and alcohol policies.
Anecdotally, many employers have deferred the introduction of testing regimes
because of union and privacy concerns. However, the combination of government
and regulator interest coupled with the potential consequences of inaction,
means that for many employers, doing nothing is no longer an option.