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Drug and alcohol policy too wide

Employers need to watch their drug and alcohol policies are not too wide. In the case of Oliver [2019] SAET 195 the policy was so expansive ‘that an employee who had drunk a glass of wine or beer after work or taken Panadol could be caught by it’. It also allowed the employer to conduct screening just on the suspicion screening was warranted. Further, the employer tried to have the worker undergo screening at a time he was not expected to be working. The policy did not specify the methods of drug testing proposed, nor whether an initial screening will be accepted as finally conclusive or if formal confirmatory lab testing would be ordered in the case of a non-negative result. Although the R’s work environment was a hazardous one, it permitted the employer to test in circumstances that exceeded the maintenance of a safe work environment. The worker responded angrily to the attempt to drug test him after he was accused of being a drug addict. His dismissal for serious misconduct was not justified.