Random Drug Testing at Work and Your Rights
10 January, 2022
More New Zealand employers integrate drug and alcohol policies to manage occupational hazards. Employers seeking to reduce substance-related accidents would benefit from conducting regular workplace alcohol and drug testing. However, as an employee, drug testing may be overwhelming. You must know about random drug testing at work and your rights, so you and your employer are on the same page. It aims to protect employees by identifying drug users to minimise safety risks. Testing is reasonable if you work in a safety-sensitive area or if your work directly impacts the safety of others. Before an employer can implement alcohol and drug tests, they must first consult with their employees and seek legal advice.
A drug and alcohol program ensures that the workplace is safe from substance-related accidents. The management should explicitly state the provisions of random drug testing at work and your rights as an employee. A common form of drug testing is through urine or saliva since they are quick and convenient. Additionally, alcohol tests through breathalysers can detect alcohol within the body. Testing facilities use pro-grade breathalysers such as BACtrack devices to measure blood alcohol content (BAC) accurately. A written and signed drug and alcohol policy enables employers to legally carry out random drug testing. Once you have signed the consent form, you agree to the conditions of the guidelines. Your refusal may be subject to legal complications later. Therefore, it is vital to discuss this matter with your employer to reach a mutual agreement.
Understanding Random Drug Testing at Work and Your Rights
Employers must balance the random drug testing at work and your rights. The alcohol and drug program should also protect your privacy. In a case of a positive drug test result, a medical review officer will interview you to confirm the other factors that could affect your drug test. Consequently, you may also seek verification from a third-party laboratory if you doubt the reliability of your test results. In some instances, employees may also question the validity of the drug test. This case is possible if they believe the testing facility did not execute the procedures correctly. Therefore, employers and the accredited laboratory must follow the New Zealand laws for conducting a workplace drug or alcohol test.
Employers also need to approach random drug testing at work and your rights with care. An effective drug and alcohol policy outlines the appropriate disciplinary actions and assistance for the employee. It may include going into a rehabilitation program, suspension, or in the worst case, termination. The law on alcohol and drug testing also states that the employer should always use highly reliable services. The company providing the tests should ensure that the testing facilities meet the federal standards for testing companies. The breath testers they use should also meet the NZ regulations for alcohol testing devices. BACtrack workplace breathalysers, for example, complete all the requirements to be an effective alcohol breath testing device.