Under New Zealand law, both employers and employees have a duty to ensure their workplace is safe.
An employer should provide employees with the highest level of protection from risks, as is reasonably practicable. Dangerous behaviour resulting from alcohol or other drug use is a risk. Employees also have a duty to take reasonable care for their own and others' safety. They must comply with any reasonable policy or procedure relating to health and safety, including a policy on alcohol and drugs.
Workplace safety can be improved, and impairment can be more effectively monitored, through good personnel management and being aware of signs and symptoms, while also introducing a proactive, supportive culture around recognising and reporting risks.
Drug testing may infringe the rights of an employee. Workplace policies must consider:
Other things to take into account include sample collection procedures, the method of analysis and the handling of test results.
Generally, an employer may only require employees and other workers to submit to alcohol or drugs tests if this is a condition of their appointment and recorded in the employment agreement or other document.
If employers have jointly developed a process on alcohol and drug use then it is more likely to be followed.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Employment Agreement Builder could help you to implement a drug testing strategy into your employment agreement.
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