Alcohol and Drugs


As a business we have a duty to ensure so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety and welfare at work of all our employees and clients. Similarly, you have a responsibility to yourself and your colleagues. The use of alcohol and drugs may impair the safe and efficient running of the business and/or the health and safety of our employees.

For the purposes of this policy the term ‘drug’ includes:

  • substances covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971(referred to as ‘controlled drugs’);
  • prescribed and over-the-counter drugs;
  • solvents and any other similar substances; and
  • ‘legal highs’, psychoactive drugs and new psychoactive substances (even where these may not be banned under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971).

The effects of alcohol and drugs can be severe. Some examples of the adverse impact of alcohol and drugs are: –

  1. absenteeism (e.g. unauthorised absence, lateness, excessive levels of sickness, etc.);
  2. higher accident levels; and
  3. impacts upon work performance (e.g. difficulty in concentrating, tasks taking more time, making mistakes, etc.)

We will take steps to assist any employee who is struggling with dependence upon alcohol, drugs or other substances. In the event of an employee admitting their need for help, we will assist the employee in obtaining advice and counselling.

If your performance or attendance at work is affected as a result of alcohol or drugs, or we believe you have been involved in any drug related action/offence, you may be subject to disciplinary action and, dependent on circumstances, this may lead to your dismissal. In addition:

  • The consumption of alcohol by members of staff is inappropriate at any time when working or before work whenever work performance might be adversely affected, except in a genuine case of client entertaining.
  • The use of drugs (as defined above) by members of staff is inappropriate at any time when working or before work whenever work performance might be affected. Employees who are prescribed by their doctor drugs that may affect their ability to work or drive or operate machinery should immediately discuss the problem with their manager.
  • Dispensing, distributing, possessing, using, selling or offering to buy controlled drugs at work is prohibited. Any such activity (including reasonable suspicion of it) on our premises will be reported immediately to the police.

Any employee who is found to be in breach of these rules will be liable to dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct under Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedure.

Medical examination

If we suspect that there has been a breach of the above provisions, or that your work performance or conduct has been impaired through drug or alcohol abuse, we will immediately invoke the Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedure which may result in your dismissal or other disciplinary action. In investigating the incident, we may request you to undergo a medical examination to determine the cause of the problem.

If, having undergone a medical examination, it is confirmed that you have no underlying drug or alcohol problem, we will continue to deal with the issue under the Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedure.

If, having undergone a medical examination, it is confirmed that you have been positively tested for a controlled drug, or you admit to having a drug and/or alcohol problem, we reserve the right to suspend you from work on full pay to allow us to decide whether to deal with the matter under the terms of the Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedure or to refer the employee for treatment and rehabilitation.

Monitoring this policy

To assist in the effective implementation of this policy, we may ask employees to have tests carried out following any incident or act of misconduct, where there is a reasonable suspicion on the part of the manager that drugs and/or alcohol may have been a contributory factor. If that is the case, you will be asked to sign a written consent to be tested.

We reserve the right to search employees and any employee property held on our premises and employees’ work spaces or their company car at any time if the employee’s manager reasonably believes that the prohibition on abuse of alcohol or drugs is being or has been infringed.