Why should you test your employees for alcohol and drug misuse?

It is crucial to keep a tab of your employees especially in case of those who have previously suffered and are suffering from alcohol and substance abuse. However, there are limits to what you can do as the employer or manager of the company to keep a check on your employee’s activities.

As an employer, you would always like to keep drug abuse at bay from your workplace. While substance abuse leads to ill-health, it also affects your employee’s work output and may sometimes affect the environment of the place. To prevent such untoward circumstances, it is important that a policy is included in the office that is ideally drawn up between the employer and his staff. This is important because as an employer it is your legal responsibility to look after the health and safety of your employees in the office environment. Some employers treat drug abuse as a medical condition rather than taking disciplinary action. In this case, the chances of overcoming the problem are assessed and a reasonable period off for recovery is agreed.

It is, therefore, crucial that you must assess the risk factors and set up a policy to prevent drug abuse in the office. In the policy as an employer you should assess points like what the policy is trying to achieve, the methods in which tests should be carried out, the support that may be given to those under the influence of drugs and any disciplinary action that may be taken against the employee who engages himself in drug abuse.

In order to keep a check on employees, you may be allowed to conduct regular tests on employees. But this method cannot be achieved without the consent of your employees. This should not normally be carried out because your employee is a permanent staff of your company. Ensure that you set out the policy in the contract of employment or the employee handbook. You can under no condition single out an employee conducting tests on him or her while random tests on employees can be allowed with their consent.

If you are conducting a search in your office, ensure it is conducted by someone of the same sex while respecting one’s privacy. Your employee can refuse to take drug tests provided you have good grounds to conduct the same on him or her.

It is important that some amount of monitoring should be done by you to avoid and make employees aware of the rules and regulations at your office. However, in any case your employees should be aware of the surveillance and the amount of monitoring should be clearly set out in the employee monitoring handbook.

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While you may be monitoring and conducting drug tests at all times, you should ensure that your employees are allowed to keep their personal life private and do not feel harassed while tests of drug abuse are being conducted on them.