So your employee has refused a drug test. You are probably thinking — is this even possible?
You’ve seen the figures: employee drug and alcohol use costs Australian businesses $6 billion per year in lost productivity.
As an employer, you have every reason to perform drug and alcohol testing. This is true not just in high-risk industries such as construction, mining, transportation and aviation. But now your employee is refusing to take the drug test.
Beyond the already stated financial losses, it is your legal obligation to provide a safe and healthy work environment for your employees.
Especially when you consider the effects of drug and alcohol use at work — lack of focus, poor concentration, aggression, unstable moods, lack of coordination, and unwanted sexual advances.
Clearly none of us wants an employee to exhibit these highly inappropriate behaviours. Moreover, we do not want our other staff members, clients, and customers to be subjected to such behaviours.
What To Do If An Employee Refuses To Be Tested
Legally, speaking, you cannot force an employee to undergo a test if it’s against their will. Doing so could lead to civil liability.
Trying to reason or threaten your employee will rarely have any positive results. At best you can expect to be left with the same no. At worst you may cause a revolt and outright destruction in your entire team.
It is best to stick to well established rules and procedures. This is where a well-written and clearly-worded drug and alcohol policy comes in.
Review Your Drug and Alcohol Company Policy
As an employer, your drug and alcohol workplace policy must indicate clearly the reasons for subjecting an employee to a drug test. For instance, the improvement of productivity, the safety of the operations, and maintaining good health. The policy should also indicate the consequences of refusing to be tested.
Every employee should have signed the workplace drug and alcohol policy, understanding and agreeing to a drug test for justifiable reasons.
In Australia, it is perfectly legal to conduct workplace drug testing at work. However, crucial to effectively enforcing it is establishing a workplace drug and alcohol policy beforehand.
Why? Because it is important that your employees are aware of the following:
- Why you are conducting a drug test
- Who will do the testing
- When they may be subjected to a drug test
- How often the drug test will be carried out
- The type of test that will be used
- The accepted blood alcohol limits
- What to do in the event that they test positive for drugs or exceed accepted alcohol limit
- The disciplinary measures that an employee will face for refusing to be tested
This is legally the only way to go about drug testing. The methods, frequency and consequences must be clearly stated. They must have been communicated and acknowledged to every employee. And you have to stick to what is written in your policy.
Similarly, if you update your processes, you must reflect the changes in your policy, inform everyone affected and have proof you have done so.
What If I Do Not Have A Legally Binding Workplace Drug And Alcohol Policy?
If you do not have a sound drug testing framework for your workplace, you simply cannot enforce any kind of drug testing. Even if an employee tested positive, you would likely not be able to apply any kind of consequences.
The best path forward is to engage an experienced drug and alcohol testing service, so you can get your company protected as soon as possible. You also want to minimise any resistance from your staff member in question.
Drug and Alcohol Testing at Work
SafeWork Laboratories will help you safeguard your business and employees from drug and alcohol-related incidents at work.
We will help create a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy for your company that includes staff training, drug testing and drug awareness programs. Moreover, our fast turnaround times for drug testing results mean minimal downtime on your operations.
Whatever your circumstances, feel free to reach out to us for a confidential discussion.