Do employees have the right to refuse to participate in a drugs test if not provided for in their contract of employment or a company policy?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 7 November 2017
Chris Fullerton
Arthur Cox NI
Issues covered:

An employer has a legal responsibility to look after their employees’ health and safety at work as far as is reasonably possible. As well as causing ill-health, drug misuse increases the chances of accidents at work and interferes with how much work is done.

An employee can't be made to take a drugs test, but if they refuse when an employer has good grounds for testing under a proper occupational health and safety policy, the employee may face disciplinary action as a result. Employers are therefore advised to have a suitable policy in place on the issue. The policy could be drawn up between the employer and staff, or staff health and safety representatives and should preferably set out:

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    Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 07/11/2017

    The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

    Chris Fullerton
    Arthur Cox NI

    The main content of this article was provided by Chris Fullerton. Contact telephone number is 028 9023 0007 or email

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