Can an Employer Accuse you of Being on Drugs or Under the Influence of Alcohol?
23 February, 2022
Handling drugs and alcohol in the workplace is a sensitive issue. Misuse of illegal substances exposes the workplace and the general public to harm. For this reason, many workplaces implement drug and alcohol policies to maintain a safe and healthy environment. Employers conduct drug tests or alcohol tests through a breathalyser like BACtrack to monitor the health status of employees. The workplace policy aims to deter drug and alcohol abuse and prevent accidents. Employees who work under the influence of alcohol or illegal substances can pose significant safety hazards. So, can an employer accuse you of being on drugs or under the influence of alcohol? Perceiving an employee to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol needs to be approached with extreme caution or care.
When Can an Employer Accuse you of Being on Drugs?
A workplace policy enables employers to test workers for drugs and alcohol under the proper guidelines. For example, some workplaces require a pre-employment drug test to determine if a candidate uses drugs. Workplace testing is also critical after an accident or if the employer has reasonable cause. So when can an employer accuse you of being on drugs or under the influence of alcohol? Reasonable grounds include after an accident, near-miss, or where there is a witness for drug or alcohol use.
A drug and alcohol test can be administered immediately in such a case. A breathalyser test can quickly determine if alcohol is involved in an accident. BACtrack workplace breathalysers, available at Breathalysers New Zealand, use advanced fuel cell sensors with professional-grade accuracy to precisely measure the blood alcohol content (BAC). These sensors are also less likely to provide false-positive results. Furthermore, the fuel cell sensor technology in BACtrack workplace breathalysers is the same as what law enforcement officers use.
Can an employer accuse you of being on drugs or under the influence of alcohol based on general suspicion? A suspicion or hearsay evidence is insufficient to cite a person for using drugs. Without concrete evidence, the employer may face legal charges. However, the employer can ask an employee to undergo a drug or alcohol test if it directly impacts safety. Without a doubt, having a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy is valuable for managing safety risks.
Drug and Alcohol Policy Guidelines
A comprehensive drug and alcohol policy is critical for maintaining a safe and healthy work environment for employers and employees alike. Employees under substance abuse could have increased accidents, higher absenteeism rates, lower productivity, and poor workplace relations that affect their professionalism. Additionally, more workplace accidents or incidents can result in damage to property and loss of revenue for the employer. Therefore, companies should implement a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and alcohol to manage the risks and hazards safely. Furthermore, businesses conduct drug and alcohol tests in order to address the current health status of their employees. So, can an employer accuse you of being on drugs or under the influence of alcohol? Most definitely, if defined in the company’s drug and alcohol policy. Standard testing methods include:
- Breath tests
Successful execution of the drug and alcohol policy in the workplace requires the employer firstly, to clearly define the procedures to all employees. Moreover, workers must acknowledge and agree to the rules and regulations set by the guidelines the policy covers. Some business owners also include drug and alcohol testing as a pre-employment screening process. Thus, an employer can accuse you of being on drugs and alcohol intoxication followed by comprehensive testing on the matter, as should be defined by the drug and alcohol policy.
Can an Employer Accuse you of Being on Drugs or Alcohol Intoxication: Documentation
It is imperative for a drug and alcohol policy to include documentation of all cases in order to have a system record. Therefore, managing all employees that are suspected to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol that can cause issue within the company. When there is reasonable suspicion, an employer can accuse you of being on drugs and under the influence of alcohol, then follow these steps as a protocol:
- Collect complaints
- Observation of the suspected employee
- Removal of the alleged employee from high-risk areas in the workplace
- Record all observations
- Assessment of the situation
- Meeting with the employee under suspicion
- Drug and alcohol testing
- Analysis of the results
- Responding to the results
Can an Employer Accuse you of Being on Drugs or Alcohol: Implementation
Can an employer accuse you of being on drugs and alcohol? Firstly, complaints and concerns regarding the employee can be collected from co-workers, superiors or even clients by the assigned investigator. Then, the investigator should observe any signs of irregularity in the employee’s work pattern. It is also good to remove the suspected employee from their station if they work in high-risk areas such as driving and operating heavy machinery as these are serious health hazards. Next, the investigator should record all observations such as odour, erratic movement, eyes, facial expressions, speech patterns, change in emotion, unusual actions and lack of productivity.
If the assessment does indeed show reasonable suspicion, an employer can accuse you of being on drugs and alcohol intoxication during a meeting. However, as reasonable suspicion alone is not enough, drug and alcohol testing is conducted. The test results are to be analysed then the employer can respond accordingly, depending on if the test result comes back as negative or positive.
Drug Test Kits and BACtrack Workplace Breathalysers
Can an employer accuse you of being on drugs or under the influence of alcohol? Yes, and they can test you for it using drug test kits and alcohol breath testers. A drug test kit detects illegal substances classified under New Zealand, such as depressants, hallucinogens, and stimulants. A breathalyser is a breath testing device that can measure an individual’s Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Breathalysers New Zealand offers a variety of high-quality BACtrack workplace breathalysers to choose from.
An effective drug and alcohol policy sets the guidelines on the expected conduct for employees to follow. Drug and alcohol use or impairments are common across all sectors. However, most industries enforce zero-tolerance to alcohol and illegal drugs because it can directly impact the workplace’s safety. Employees who display misconduct or inappropriate behaviour can put the welfare or safety of others at risk. Can an employer accuse you of being on drugs if you exhibit risky behaviour in the workplace? An accusation of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol at work can have serious repercussions, especially if proven wrong. Employers must handle the situation delicately to avoid legal problems.