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Random Drugs Tests at Work: Case Study

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 13 Nov 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Drug Testing Random Cannabis Work

Working rights is such a vast topic because not only is there the ‘official’ working rights – such as legal rights, discrimination laws and employee handbooks – but there are also ‘implied’ working rights that can work both for and against the employee.

This is reflected in the situation that Dave Drury, 42, found himself in recently and he was keen to get some advice to see where he stood in terms of working rights. Dave works for a national transport company and has been employed there for over 17 years.

Dave told us, “Over the years I have worked for the company I have seen a number of changes. I am keen to make sure that I work within the rules and regulations of both the industry and the company, but sometimes it can seem like things are changing so quickly I can’t keep up. I am concerned that a recent request may go against me, but this is a recent change and I am not sure how to handle it.”

The Introduction of Random Testing

Dave had recently been informed that the company was starting random drug testing throughout the organisation, with instant dismissal for anyone found to have any trace of illegal substances in their blood stream. While Dave is not a heavy drug user, he occasionally smokes cannabis.

Dave continued, “I am far from being a regular drug user, but I may smoke a joint about once every month or two. I’m always careful to just keep it to a Friday or Saturday night, so there is no chance of any influence at work on a Monday morning.”

The concern for Dave came when he was informed that the random drugs tests were exactly that – random – and could take place at any time.

Dave explained, “I was more that happy to give up my occasional joint for the sake of my job, but I was really worried that my first random drugs test would take place before my last joint had left my system.”

Dave decided to get some practical advice, both in terms of how likely it was that the cannabis would leave his system and whether or not he was entitled to any notice prior to his first test.

Finding Out Information

He was informed that finding traces of cannabis varied dramatically from person to person, with a number of issues that can affect the test, including your weight, the amount and regularity of your habit and the strength of the cannabis. Dave also checked the legal enforcement issues, finding that, while UK companies must have a clear policy on random drugs testing if they plan to test their staff, it must comply with certain regulations, such as being totally random (so an individual cannot be targeted for testing) and it is not legally enforceable.

“I was pleased to hear the legal side of the random drugs testing issue, but I was also keen to make sure that I was not jeopardising my job by making things awkward," said Dave."I found out that because I had only smoked one joint every once in a while, it was unlikely that traces of cannabis would be in my system for more than 10 days. I decided to sit tight and, if I was called for a test, would explain my situation clearly. As it turned out, I have not yet been tested, but I have given up my occasional joint.”

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I don't really know where to start, it came to the anniversary of my mothers death, who I nursed for the last 4 years of her life. suddenly I found myself slipping into a depression, or so I thought. I had been working quite happy doing my own thing. but this day I turned up for work to find the rota and work patterns had changed. this new rota was full of loop holes and would of been very hard to follow .but I tried for 3 days. then I just seemed to go totally out of character and started to argue with my line manager. I walked out and asked for holiday to sort my head out. I went to the doctor explained everything to hershe then gave me a 10 sick note awarded for stress. this carried on for most of October when I returned to work I was given the the shifts of 3 hours a day 3 shifts a week my boss does not seem even interested in giving me full time status again. as a result of this I am now in debt and the risk of loosing my home looms is on the horizon can I make my boss employ me full time again as my wages are just equilivant of someone claiming j.s.a and I cannot get help from anywhere financialy,where do I stand.
hen - 13-Nov-13 @ 9:10 AM
My partner works as a refuse collectorand recently the staff have been told that they may be called to do random drugs testing, we are worried about this as he dose like to had a joint or two on a weekend .In no shape or form dose this affect his work or safety to himself or others he works with. He would never turn up for work stoned or unable to carry out his daliy duties . Is he aloud to refuse the testing ? because surely what takes place out of work hours is not any ones business as long as it is not affecting his work or the safety of others . please email me a reply , thank you .
honey - 25-May-12 @ 11:33 AM
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