Testing for drugs and alcohol to see if you are fit for work is becoming more common and it is becoming just as important to be aware of your rights. Random drug and alcohol tests are becoming more prevalent in the work place. Employers are becoming more heath and safety conscious and insurance companies have a driving force. The Queensland Council of Civil Liberties president, Michael Cope agrees that drug and alcohol testing is important, but not justifiable in all industries. For an example there is a difference between testing a train conductor and a person who works in retail. There is also a thin line between employers having just cause or “interfering with a workers lifestyle choice”. Justifiable reasons can be that prescribed medication can show up on the test including; anti HIV drugs, anti depressants, diet tablets, etc.
Employee’s only protection is the Privacy Act, otherwise in terms of normal industrial legislation there is no specific drug and alcohol testing legislation.
Courtney of abc.net.au