Alcohol – Your Questions

Last reviewed on 19/11/2012 16:04

Question: Can I insist my drivers take an alcohol test if I suspect they have been drinking?

A: You must be very sure that the person is in fact under the influence of alcohol. They may be on medication, or have a medical condition that could make it seem as if they were under the influence. Only being suspicious is not enough, as you need to have firm evidence that the employee is actually under the influence of alcohol.

Turning up for work with a drink is obviously a disciplinary matter and should be handled as such. If the employee admits they have a drink problem, you should encourage them to seek help and get treatment. If they do so it may resolve the issue and with additional supervision, support and monitoring it may resolve the problem.

There are a few safety-critical occupations where alcohol testing is a requirement, but it can be difficult to introduce alcohol testing for an individual employee.

The only effective way to deal with matters like this is to have a drug and alcohol policy in place for the business. Including testing requirements within your policy can be a difficult thing to set up, as it must comply with employment law, data protection and human rights legislation.

Your policy needs to be seen as reasonable and developed after consulting your staff. You must make sure it’s understood by everyone and applied consistently across the whole organisation. While employees can refuse to be tested, you have the right to take a refusal as a disciplinary matter.

→ Read more on Alcohol

→ Read more on Driving at Work