Is random drug testing legal in the UK?

Many more are blocking random testing during working hours. British legislation is a bit unclear on this matter. Possession of banned drugs is, of course, illegal. But an individual can’t receive a charge for a criminal offence if they test positive for one of the banned drugs.

According to the EWDTS (European Workplace Drug Testing Society), workplace drug testing in the UK is legal, but not enforceable by law and workers must always consent.

Can you refuse a drug test UK?

Workers can’t be made to take a drugs test but if they refuse when the employer has good grounds for testing, they may face disciplinary action.

Even if employees are in safety sensitive roles, random testing does not allow for employers to test employees based on a ‘hunch’ or mere suspicion. Many employers fall down by calling what is effectively a ‘reasonable cause test’ or a ‘post-incident test’ a random drug test.

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Drug testing is currently legal in the UK but not enforceable by law. Workers must consent to testing prior to the test being carried out.

What happens if you fail a drug test UK?

Depending on your company’s policy, failing a drug test could lead to disciplinary action or you being dismissed. If your company has a zero tolerance policy to drugs, just the positive test could be seen as ‘gross misconduct’ and you could be dismissed immediately or suspended while there is an investigation.

Do UK companies do drug tests?

But UK employers have been slow to take up the practice. Why is this, and are UK employers ready to make drug testing part of their regular pre-employment screening? Legally, UK employers can carry out drug and alcohol testing only in limited circumstances.

What is a good excuse for failing a drug test?

Here are a few creative excuses relayed to us:

  1. “I was at a party over the weekend – can I retest later?”
  2. “I didn’t know the brownies I ate were laced with pot!”
  3. “I took some elephant tranquilizers. …
  4. “It must have been the tea that my wife gave me last night.”
  5. “My dentist gave me cocaine for my sore tooth.”


What is the most common drug test used by employers?

Urine is the most common sample type used for drug testing by employers. A urinalysis will show the presence of a drug in the system after the drug effects have worn off; however, the length of time varies by drug. Urine is the only sample type approved for testing of the federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce.

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Does CBD show up on a drug test?

CBD will not show up in a drug test because drug tests are not screening for it. CBD products may well contain THC, however, so you can fail a drug test after taking CBD products.

What happens if you test positive for drugs at work?

If you test positive for drugs, even if it was your last warning, but you can prove to your employer that you have been getting professional help, you stand a chance to hold on to your employment status. Your employer may decline to promote you until you prove your worth for the position.

How often are random drug tests done?

Random testing is so effective due to the element of surprise. Although employees are aware that they might be tested, they’re not sure of exactly when, so random selections and testing should be performed at least quarterly. However, each company policy differs, and some employers test more frequently than others.

Can I be sacked for taking drugs out of work?

While it is true that employees guilty of drug use, even outside work, leave themselves exposed to dismissal on grounds of either capability, conduct or “some other substantial reason” (especially if use of the drugs in question is itself illegal) that decision cannot be automatic.

What drugs do pre-employment test for?

What is a pre-employment drug test?

  • Methamphetamines (meth, speed, crank, ecstasy)
  • THC (cannabinoids, marijuana, hash)
  • Cocaine (coke, crack)
  • Opiates (heroin, opium, codeine, morphine)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP, angel dust)


Do you have to be warned before a drug test?

Generally, employers can require a drug test as part of a physical exam, but not more than once a year. At most jobs, the employer has to give you 2 weeks written notice that you will be tested. … Drug and alcohol tests can be done without advance warning (randomly) for employees in safety sensitive jobs.

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Does drug testing have to be in your contract?

Your employer may decide to test employees for drugs. To do this, however, they need the agreement of employees. … The policy should be set out in your contract of employment or in the company handbook. Your employer should limit testing to the employees that need to be tested to deal with the risk.

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