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Fair Work decision dents employer push for urine tests

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HC Online | 15 Aug 2012, 12:00 AM Agree 0
An energy company’s request to test the urine of its employees has been thrown out by a full bench decision of Fair Work Australia in a case with potentially wide-reaching ramifications.
  • employer who supports urine tests | 15 Aug 2012, 03:21 PM Agree 0
    Recently, a positive urine drug test lead to finding drugs in the employee's possession at work and uncovered a long term drug habit/problem. They still have their job, but the problem is now being appropriately and safely managed. My question is, how can we determine the effect of long term use (and the employee's ability to work safely) if we can only use saliva results, which are often incorrect? I have known of heavy amphetamine users who have passed a saliva test, yet completely incapable of working safely. As an employer we have a responsibility to ensure fitness for work, yet one of the very tools we can use to pin down a drug dependency issue may be taken away. Unless very regular saliva tests are done, employees who are a risk to themselves, the public and colleagues may be able to maintain both their employment and their drug habit. Drug use is illegal, and it is a fair and reasonable expectation that an employee completely refrains from illegal activity. Any alternative ideas?
  • Graeme - Specialist in AOD management | 22 Aug 2012, 11:59 PM Agree 0
    Without the advantage of reading the full decision, it appears the case was poorly argued and should not be seen as precedent. The key issues are deterring and detecting "drug taking behaviour" for which there is good evidence to justify employer activity (not impairment for which the evidence is weak) and dealing with people fairly. The 3D's of AOD management.
  • AK | 23 Aug 2012, 01:36 PM Agree 0
    ITs okay if you are an aviation organisation undertaking a Safety Sensitive Aviation Activity. As per CASA regulations you can undertake Urine tests for D&A testing.
  • Sasan Beheshti | 24 Aug 2012, 12:22 PM Agree 0
    That just magnifies the role of Medical Review Officers on interpreting the test results. Urine test results should be dealt with like any other medical result. It should be ordered, interpreted and reported by an experienced doctor and not by non medical professionals. And again like any other pathology result, non medical people (including HR people at work) should not have access to the result, but just to the interpretation and report from a qualified practitioner and medical review officer.
  • McKay | 30 Aug 2012, 03:43 PM Agree 0
    @ employer, you have a reasonable expectation tht am emp;loyee will not engage in illegal activities "whilst at work" you have no such claim over them during their free time, they are employees not slaves.
  • micheal | 06 Mar 2013, 07:06 AM Agree 0
    urine testing is is the most inaccurate form of testing as their is to many variants involved. This form of testing is driving workers into using hard drugs (speed, opiates, presciption drugs) due to the body expelling these substances faster than canibinoids. Canibinoids can still be detected in people who have given up taking pot after years of cronic use and allows for inaccurate readings depending on body fat content, urination rate, excercise and metabolism as well as ease of masking results. Bottom line employers what do u want employees smoking a joint or two of a weekend or weekend junkies frying their brains.
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