IC recommends ban on random drug and drink testing on staff

first_imgEmployers could soon be banned from blanket testing staff for drugs oralcohol, unless they can show that not doing so would have a direct health andsafety impact on their businesses. The Information Commission, which promotes good information handling practice,has suggested the ban in its fourth, and final, part of the EmploymentPractices Data Protection Code. The code advises employers on how to comply with the law when handlinginformation on the health of their employees, and covers the operation of OHschemes, medical examinations, drug and alcohol testing and genetic testing inthe workplace. Under the latest proposal, which is being consulted until 27 February,checks would be restricted to staff such as machine operators, where there is aspecific safety risk. The intention is that employers will need to satisfy strict reasons fortesting, so that employees’ rights are fully protected under the DataProtection Act. However, the move could mean firms having to completely rethink how theyapproach testing and medical records. Employment lawyers have suggested that companies will need to look closelyat the questions they include on medical questionnaires. Information Commissioner Richard Thomas said the issues in the code were of”real, practical relevance to many employers, and those they employ”.The move comes as the TUC has said workers do not get sufficient protectionagainst the increasing use of “unjustified and degrading drink and drugtesting by over-zealous employers”. Testing, it argued, has doubled in the past decade, with one in eightcompanies testing staff for drugs, and four out of five bosses saying theywould be prepared to test their employees if they felt productivity was atstake. Brendan Barber, TUC general secretary, said: “No-one is suggesting thatit is acceptable to be high or drunk at work, but staff who may have drink orrelated problems need help, not disciplinary action.” www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. IC recommends ban on random drug and drink testing on staffOn 1 Jan 2004 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more