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monks

Drug / Drink Testing At Work... Your Experiences?

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I work for a large company operating in multiple sectors (rail / civils / water etc), and whilst they have always had a drug / drink testing policy in place for people working in high risk areas (rail for example), they are soon to extend the testing policy to the whole company.

From April, the secretary at head office is just as likely to be tested as someone laying tracks on an Intercity main line.

Now, while I wholeheartedly agree that anyone using drugs at work (whatever your job), or drinking cans of Stella in the toilet, should indeed lose their job, I struggle to see how having the odd spliff on a Friday night is grounds for sacking on a Monday morning.

There are rumours flying now that even a few drinks the night before might take you over the testing limit the next morning.

The Governments policy on testing is briefly described as:

"Limit testing to employees that need to be tested"

How can a company justify testing for someone sat in front of a PC for most of the week?

Would like to hear other peoples experiences of this?

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Unless this was stated in your contract, how can they impose it on you? Surely they would need your permission...

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WHS^^^ Providing it was not in the contract you signed in the first place

Every where i work it`s always in the contract ,that i agree to mandatory and random drug/alcohol testing

Now, while I wholeheartedly agree that anyone using drugs at work (whatever your job), or drinking cans of Stella in the toilet, should indeed lose their job, I struggle to see how having the odd spliff on a Friday night is grounds for sacking on a Monday morning.

If you partake on a daily basis and the company is using urine tests weed can be detected for many weeks after stopping

A lot of the construction/engineering industry are moving away from urine test to saliva/swab tests as they answer a different question when it comes to weed

They answer the question have this person used it recently (within the last 4-6 hours or so) and are still under the influence

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Utterly unacceptable but they've probably got their backs covered legally.

Personally speaking I despise the whole idea even in safety related areas. Either you trust the people you employ or you don't, in which case you shouldn't employ them. This distrusting, nannying, treating people like children attitude is far more harmful (but in more subtle ways) than the consequences of that trust being broken from time to time. Another reason I view modern Britain with contempt and distaste.

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CDT (compulsory drug testing) was the deterrent hanging over any "ne'er do well" in the army years which, whilst In civvy street is not the same, still reinforces the mandate that "if you use, you lose". Still didn't stop me going to Bagley's, the ministry and turnmills though....

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I thought this was quite common in rail related companies.

I worked as an IT contractor for a rail ticket processing company linked to one of the main rail companies in the 90's. A girl in the office was summoned to the head office in London for a random drink/drugs test, she was just a desk worker. I was told at that time that anyone working for the company be it perm or temp, could be called to have a random test, even if you didn't actually work on anything life threatening.

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There was probably a loose term in my original contract many years ago, but the fact is (the division I work in) I don't know anyone who has been tested in the last decade.

As I say, things have changed in the last few weeks, and letters have gone out to EVERY employee saying the rules are being tightened and now everyone will fall under the "regular and random" testing policy, not just the rail lot.

As a further demonstration of the naivety of the people pushing this policy, they have put up posters in the office showing 4 bottles of lager (labels removed), bottles of poppers, a pile of baking flour masquerading as coke, and several pills that are supposed to be E's, but look more like over the counter suppositories, with the warning "Drink, Drugs & Work don't mix".

Entirely true.

But drink, drugs on a Friday or Saturday night is a harmless relief for millions of people across the country, who then return on Monday to their successful careers and family lives, but sadly this truth is unspeakable in modern Britain.

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Haha! Tell them where to stick their suppositories!

We had the round of letters pointing out a term of our contract about drug testing... It turns out they wanted to to test just one person, but couldn't single him out for special treatment. The letters were just to cover their a$$ before they tested/sacked the individual.

Nothing to fear... Yet!

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But drink, drugs on a Friday or Saturday night is a harmless relief for millions of people across the country, who then return on Monday to their successful careers and family lives, but sadly this truth is unspeakable in modern Britain.

Many millions need alcohol / drugs as a crutch to get through the next working week / relieve the pressures of the previous week.

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I worked for a big company in the UK.

They decided to bring in random drug and alcohol testing.

It was purely random selection,

Noboby knew when it was their turn.

It was a breathalyser for alcohol set at the uk drink drive limit (doesnt mean you couldnt have a drink then?) and a urine sample for 7 common street drugs.

The deal was this: you could wait until your number was pulled and go right to the point of taking the test and then hold your hand up and admit you were a drug user or had a drug problem and you would be given all the help & assistance you needed to tackle it. But......chance your arm and fail the test......sacked.

Remember companies have a duty of care to employees ;-)

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I would quite happily give a "urine sample" to my boss, whether he asked for it or not! ^_^

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Hard one.

I've worked at some companies who had a very dangerous production line.

Company policy was that no alcohol on site - ever. Any drunk//drinking during working hours was gross incompetence, sacked on spot.

Applied across the company, even for office/safe staff just to reduce the hassle + classification.

Problem is that policy has to apply to everyone.

If a pleb has evidence of a mnager drinking or not being sober tahn you have a very interesting court case.

But where does the company intrude on you personal life?

Would the company be willing to be charged over time for the 7x24-28 contract hours?

I've seen some contracts that,stupidly, try torestrict an employee working outside of company time - even for a non-related company.

These are nuts - the employee could make a case for billing the company for the hours not worked.

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Yes, I'm worried, although I only dabble 3-4 times a year at most these days.

More than that though, I'm angry about the encroachment into my entirely private life. If (as the people enforcing this would no doubt claim) testing is to ensure staff are working at their peak, with high uninterrupted concentration levels, then why not look into stress, depression, anxiety etc. Maybe lay someone off who is going through a messy divorce and isn't giving 100% anymore? Kid seriously sick? Sorry mate, can't have you working here...

Perhaps its the illegality of the product... so why not discipline people who break the speed limit, download pirated music, park in disabled bays without a blue badge?

Considering there are now many places in the western civilised world where it is perfectly legal to buy and consume cannabis, it seems a step backwards in 2015 to be presenting it in such a punishable fashion.

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Yes, I'm worried, although I only dabble 3-4 times a year at most these days.

More than that though, I'm angry about the encroachment into my entirely private life. If (as the people enforcing this would no doubt claim) testing is to ensure staff are working at their peak, with high uninterrupted concentration levels, then why not look into stress, depression, anxiety etc. Maybe lay someone off who is going through a messy divorce and isn't giving 100% anymore? Kid seriously sick? Sorry mate, can't have you working here...

Perhaps its the illegality of the product... so why not discipline people who break the speed limit, download pirated music, park in disabled bays without a blue badge?

Considering there are now many places in the western civilised world where it is perfectly legal to buy and consume cannabis, it seems a step backwards in 2015 to be presenting it in such a punishable fashion.

I personally wouldn't work for a company that do random tests...People need to vote with their feet.

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I personally wouldn't work for a company that do random tests...People need to vote with their feet.

Hello Mr Beans, we'll start with an easy one: Why did you leave your last company?

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Hello Mr Beans, we'll start with an easy one: Why did you leave your last company?

Made redundant..company shut down..

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I worked for a big company in the UK.

They decided to bring in random drug and alcohol testing.

It was purely random selection,

Noboby knew when it was their turn.

It was a breathalyser for alcohol set at the uk drink drive limit (doesnt mean you couldnt have a drink then?) and a urine sample for 7 common street drugs.

The deal was this: you could wait until your number was pulled and go right to the point of taking the test and then hold your hand up and admit you were a drug user or had a drug problem and you would be given all the help & assistance you needed to tackle it. But......chance your arm and fail the test......sacked.

Remember companies have a duty of care to employees ;-)

And your card is now marked forever with the company. Who is to say this will not be used as a criteria for future redundancies? Or it affects future promotions? Or they decide to test you more often than other employees to make sure you are on the straight and narrow?

Also, as someone has already mentioned - what if you went to amsterdam for a weekend and came back to work tuesday fully compus mentus - they will be punishing you for absolutely no crime committed

I'm not anti testing - I don't want my tube train driven to be some stoner - but your company's policy is just giving them a stick to beat you with? I don't know what the solution is, i'm just pointing out the pitfalls of that particular policy from an employee's position

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And your card is now marked forever with the company. Who is to say this will not be used as a criteria for future redundancies? Or it affects future promotions? Or they decide to test you more often than other employees to make sure you are on the straight and narrow?

Exactly! and that is exactly what happens people know that if they come clean and admit to taking drugs / drink problem then they are marked, even having to go through the help and assistance programme is a real hassle usually in your own time after work and meetings with occ health and regular re tests to ensure progress is being made.

No wonder some people just chance the test.

i agree with changing urine tests for saliva tests as saliva tests prove if the drug was taken in the last 6 hrs or so, like the uk drug driving law (in force scince march 2nd)

drug driving must become as abhorrent and stigmatised as drink driving in the uk.

Edit to add: I knew someone who lost thier job over a failed drug test (cannabis) with hindsight they said to me they wished they had just walked and sacked themselves rather than take the test as there is now a proven record of a positive drug test and dismissal for it.

If they had just walked on the spot it would have been better.

Food for thought.

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i agree with changing urine tests for saliva tests as saliva tests prove if the drug was taken in the last 6 hrs or so, like the uk drug driving law (in force scince march 2nd)

drug driving must become as abhorrent and stigmatised as drink driving in the uk.

The last six hours or so is for cannabis ,most other drugs can be detected for up to 48 hours but a blood test will be used to prove quantity/levels of intoxication for other drugs in the case of driving laws i believe

It`s something to do with the way the body metabolises delta 9 THC (the psychoactive and illegal substance in weed) basically once in the system it gets metabolised very quickly and whats left in urine /blood is not the same banded/psychoactive /cannabinoid and this can be present in the system for weeks thus rendering it useless as proof of intoxication

The swab test is a contact test. it reacts to any residue left/present in the mouth after smoking (not the amount contained/absorbed by the body) theres plenty of ways of removing those residues and i think this is why the level/amount set by the law is incredibly low

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Exactly! and that is exactly what happens people know that if they come clean and admit to taking drugs / drink problem then they are marked, even having to go through the help and assistance programme is a real hassle usually in your own time after work and meetings with occ health and regular re tests to ensure progress is being made.

No wonder some people just chance the test.

i agree with changing urine tests for saliva tests as saliva tests prove if the drug was taken in the last 6 hrs or so, like the uk drug driving law (in force scince march 2nd)

drug driving must become as abhorrent and stigmatised as drink driving in the uk.

Edit to add: I knew someone who lost thier job over a failed drug test (cannabis) with hindsight they said to me they wished they had just walked and sacked themselves rather than take the test as there is now a proven record of a positive drug test and dismissal for it.

If they had just walked on the spot it would have been better.

Food for thought.

Been there and walked for that very same reason ,it was a short 3-4 month contract but good money that i lost ,but on the plus side i have worked on the same site many times since which would not have happened if i had failed the test

This was the reason for giving it up ,it was all urine tests then so i had no real choice other than playing the drug test lottery on every job

Edit to add:and tested every time

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