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Example Policy on Drug & Alcohol Misuse at Work


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#1 Simon

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 09:02 AM

Hello friends, I need to draft a policy specifically for dealing with people who come into work straight from the pub (virtually). I'm thinking that the policy would be if an employee comes in clearly worse for wear, either through drugs or alcohol then they would be sent (or taken) home on full pay and then disciplined the next day.

Obviously the policy would ban getting inebriated during work time also. The only problem is it is subjective e.g. using smell and visual clues, practically speaking these are pretty much good tools but how about the law on formal discipline, do we need to be more objective, for example, using a breathalyser.
How have others dealt with this difficult problem. If anyone has a sample policy to share it would be great.

Thanks,
Simon


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#2 Yannisg

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 09:21 AM

Hello friends, I need to draft a policy specifically for dealing with people who come into work straight from the pub (virtually). I'm thinking that the policy would be if an employee comes in clearly worse for wear, either through drugs or alcohol then they would be sent (or taken) home on full pay and then disciplined the next day.

Obviously the policy would ban getting inebriated during work time also. The only problem is it is subjective e.g. using smell and visual clues, practically speaking these are pretty much good tools but how about the law on formal discipline, do we need to be more objective, for example, using a breathalyser.
How have others dealt with this difficult problem. If anyone has a sample policy to share it would be great.

Thanks,
Simon


Dear Simon,

I did some Google search and found a couple of articles which might be useful for you.

Rgds Yannis

PS: Furthermore the most useful website regarding Health and Safety Issues is IMO the following:

http://www.hse.gov.uk

By typing the right search words (e.g. Drug and Alchohol Policy) you will find alot of information

Attached Files


Edited by Yannisg, 21 January 2011 - 09:56 AM.


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#3 GMO

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Posted 21 January 2011 - 09:56 AM

Not sure how legal it is but one site I worked at relied on a "two manager" approach, ie two managers had to agree the person seemed like they had been drinking; and the smell of alcohol was enough. Personally it could be tricky ground because if used irresponsibly, it could lead to someone being "got rid of", however, as tribunals only require evidence so that on the balance of probabilities it's likely the person was at fault, you're likely to get away with it. Another thing they had though at the same site, which I think balances this out, is they had a good policy where if you were honest and approached occ health saying you had a drug or alcohol problem, they would support you to get better (on one occasion only) without detriment to your work prospects.

I have, however, seen this through a friend's eyes from the other side. A friend of mine had been out on a stag weekend and on the Monday morning smelt a bit of booze according to his boss. He was sent home and suspended. He was certain however that there was no alcohol in his system despite the heavy weekend and so went to a police station to ask them to breathalise him; they refused but suggested his GP might be able to do a blood test. As it happens the GP was next door so he got a blood test done which showed no alcohol. On production of this the workplace reduced the penalty from dismissal to final written warning which he accepted just to be able to stay in a job (they were really after him for some reason.) He was later sacked for a minor offence which on top of the warning pushed it to dismissal. Now, because of the GP evidence, the workplace did a "left through mutual agreement" in the end (ie had to pay out some cash to stop him taking it to tribunal). Personally, if I were him I wouldn't have accepted the warning and fought them all the way but I'm more feisty.

So I think you have to be careful and also remember that in the workplace unless you have consulted lawyers and have work which would be dangerous to do after a drink it could be dangerous ground legally to start breathalising. After all you have no legal right to check an employee's pockets!

You do need a policy but that's one for your HR department to draw up with support from unions and lawyers. It's tricky ground. Also personally in the first company I spoke about, I was often managing alone so didn't have the chance to get someone else to verify the drinking thing but I did have someone working for me once who smelled of drink. I mentioned it to him and suggested he was careful and then never smelled it again. Either he was more careful or switched to vodka...



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#4 DavidPractitioner

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Posted 24 January 2011 - 06:28 PM

Our company's policy adds a waiver to the pre-employment paperwork to include something to the effect that should a person be suspected intoxicated they would be required to report to the local hospital where a breathalyser or urinanalysis would be administered.

By initiating a new policy you would need to seek the signing on of current employees or the inclusion of this policy in the labor rights agreement of your organization.

It is unclear to me how this would work in the UK.

There is a wealth of information from insurance compnies regarding laws and policies assocoiated with this issue, who you can well understand would have a keen interest in workers being sober.

Maybe this gives you some ideas.



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#5 Simon

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Posted 31 January 2011 - 09:38 PM

Thank you Yannisg for the fabulous documents, I have enough reference there to draft a policy. Thanks also to GMO nd David for the practical advice and experiences given. I will post the policy when it's ready.


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