Fine balance in employee drug testing
Fine balance in drug testing between an employer's responsibilities and an employee's right to privacy
Today’s finding that the pilot of a balloon that crashed in the Wairarapa, killing 11 people, had probably smoked cannabis on the morning of the flight, tragically highlights growing concerns about drug use in the workplace.
Sarah Townsend, an employment law specialist at Duncan Cotterill, says employers have a responsibility to ensure they manage hazards in their workplace but that the line is sometimes blurred between an employer's duty to manage hazards and an employee's right to privacy. This is where the debate about drug testing comes into play.
While the Courts take drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace very seriously, it is not automatically justifiable to sack an employee who has failed a drug test.