Home - Can we request an employee take a drug test and that they must pass?
October 03, 2019 on chapter Alcohol and other drugs

Can we request an employee take a drug test and that they must pass? We have heard that one of our employees has been using illicit drugs (rumour only). His attendance and performance have clearly declined. We do have a drug and alcohol policy, but it doesn’t cover testing.

If you have reasonable grounds for suspecting the employee is affected by drugs at work, you can request that he attend a drug test. If the matter is one of safety (i.e. he is affected by drugs at work and is unsafe) it would be a lawful and reasonable direction to send him home.

However, you are limited in your ability to compel testing or discipline him if he refuses a test because your policy does not include testing.

If the issue you have is really that his work performance is dropping, then you need to institute a performance management program in the usual way. In the course of performance management, drug use might come up as an issue and it could be addressed by agreement as part of a performance improvement plan.

You should consider amending your policy to expressly reserve the right to test for drugs randomly or if there is a specific reason. This will give you more leverage to address obvious drug concerns.


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