• Suzanne Rackham
    I have a couple of questions regarding drug testing under reasonable cause:
    What processes do you have to follow legally?
    What is classified as "Good Reason" for refusing to consent?

    Thanks for your help in advance....
  • Myriam Mitchell
    Drug testing under reasonable cause should be specified in a drug testing policy. The policy should clearly set out under what circumstances reasonable cause testing may be required. A best practice policy will include a list of potential behaviours that might be considered to indicate drug use e.g drowsiness, inattention, erratic behaviour etc. The person being tested should be advised of the grounds on which the reasonable cause is based.

    In terms of the testing itself, this should be undertaken by an accredited drug testing agency. Any consent forms and other forms required by the accredited agency will need to be completed and the identity of the person will also need to be confirmed. We recommend urine testing as this is the most reliable method of testing for drugs.

    The threshold of establishing a “good reason” to refuse a drug test is high. For example, an employee who goes on stress leave and is signed off as medically unfit for work was not held to be a “good reason” for refusing a drug test in a recent case. The only case I know of where refusal to undergo a drug test was held valid was when the employee was attempting to obtain legal advice from his union in relation to the drug test and this advice was not immediately available.

    Let me know if you need any further assistance.
  • Suzanne Rackham
    thank you for your advice. Much appreciated
  • CK Rahi
    Hi Suzzane
    Reasonable cause testing could be from a behaviour recently shown by an employee/ contractor which is not appropriate ( reasons are spelt out in the policy). If it is because of illicit drugs recently consumed, urine testing may not be able to detect that and classify that worker with negative drug test.
    For a recnt use detection which closely links to fitness for work; oral fluid screening through a reliable tool helps with a non invasive testing and dosn't penalise anyone who may have breached company policy in their own time.
    Regarding accrediation, it is important the lab assessing the screen results is accredited or conforms to certain specified lab standards and this change will be further supported in the relaese of the revised AS 4760 oral fluid drug standard which has taken away the need for accreditation for screening purposes.
    Reasonable cause when supported by documented observations about a staff and is timely can assist in getting the consent of the worker. It would be good practice to assess the situation by two trained staff/mangers that a certain set of criteria calls for a drug test as per the policy. Then have an employee representation along with support from HR for getting the consent sorted for reasonable cause drug test.
    Under Carter Holt Nelson court case cannabis plants were found growing in the grounds of a sawmill near Nelson. Each employee had claimed $2,500. This court case case shows the implications of getting reasonable grounds incorrect. Feel free to contact me if you require any further details.
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