It has recently been reported that workplace drug testing is on the rise. Alere (drug screening company) have reported an increase in demand for drug tests at work of 40% since 2011, whereas BioClinics have recorded a rise of 470% between 2010 and 2013.
Although drug testing is more commonplace, employers need to be aware that they cannot require their employees to submit to drug testing without their consent. Contracts of employment can provide that refusal to undergo a drugs test amounts to a misconduct offence, but your contracts and handbooks must contain sufficient detail to permit you to enforce a test and explain what it entails.
Contact your Employment Law Adviser if you need any assistance in updating your handbook or implementing a substance abuse policy.
If your documentation permits you to subject your workforce to drug testing, please note that this should only rarely need to be done on a random basis and should be done via a reputable organisation rather than via over-the-counter drugs tests you carry out yourselves.