Firms want clear guidelines on workplace drug testing

Few
UK companies carry out any form of drug testing in the workplace, but
two-thirds want clearer guidelines on the issue, a new survey claims.

The
survey, by law firm Blake Lapthorn
Linnell, found just 10 per
cent of the respondents actually carried out any form of drug testing, although
20 per cent had a policy dealing with substance abuse.

The
employers who did not test were overwhelmingly of the opinion that drug use was
not an issue for their organisation (75 per cent).  

This
said, 29 per cent expressed concern that testing could breach either human
rights or discrimination laws (16 per cent and 13 per cent respectively) –
hinting at another underlying reason for lack of testing.

Of
those employers that do test, 88 per cent would take the hard-line and pursue
disciplinary action if an employee tested positive, with only 12 per cent
paying for the employee to undergo treatment.

Almost
two-thirds (62 per cent) of the employers who responded felt that the
Government should introduce legislation on drug testing, provided it maintained
a balance between the employers’ right to select workers who were not illegal
drug users and the employees right to privacy.

The
survey questions almost 200 employers from a wide range of business and
industry sectors.

By Quentin Reade 

 

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