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The Caterer

Workplace drug testing on the way

12 July 2004
Workplace drug testing on the way

Increasing numbers of hospitality employees could face drug testing in the workplace.

Drugscope, the UK's leading independent centre of expertise on drugs, said testing in the workplace could triple over the next year.

The hospitality industry appears to support the idea with a straw poll on www.caterer-online.com this week revealing that almost 60% of hospitality professionals agreed with the idea of testing staff.

But Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said employers needed to question whether they should be testing staff for drugs if they were working efficiently.

Drugscope's research found that although drug testing could play an important role, it couldn't be justified as a way of policing staff behaviour. It wants the Government to produce clear and definitive guidance on drug testing at work, particularly on the legal implications. It added that testing should be introduced only after proper consultation with staff.

Employers planning to introduce drug testing should be aware of the distinction between new and existing staff. While testing can be written into contracts for new staff, consent needs to be obtained from existing staff or employers may risk being in breach of their contract.

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