Scrase Law Employment Solicitors

Substance misuse at work – Employment law update on 21 January 2020



According to the 2018/19 Crime Survey for England and Wales findings published by the Home Office in September this year, around 1 in 11 (9.4%) adults aged 16 to 59 – around 3.2 million people – had taken a drug in the last year.  In 2017 to 2018 (the most recent figures available) there were an estimated 586,000 adults with alcohol dependency and in need of specialist treatment.

An employer’s approach to managing substance misuse must be carefully considered in light of a variety of issues, including health and safety legislation, data protection principles, unfair dismissal provisions and equality legislation.    It can often be difficult for employers to know how to deal with allegations or incidents of substance misuse in the workplace and, in particular, whether drug and alcohol testing can be implemented or enforced. 

In our next update, we will take you through the issues to consider and give you practical guidance on the management of substance misuse including what to include in a drug and alcohol policy, disciplinary and occupational health issues, when drug and alcohol testing may be justified, processing of testing results and the potential consequences of an employee failing a test.

Delegates will then have a full opportunity to build on their knowledge by discussing the practical aspects of the management of substance misuse in the workplace during our interactive workshop.  This will include case studies, based on issues that can arise on a day-to-day basis, guided by our team of specialist employment solicitors.

As usual we will also be examining the latest developments in employment law with an extensive round-up of recent case law.


10.30    Introduction.

10.45    Rupert Scrase – Substance misuse in the workplace: the law.

  • Drug and Alcohol policies – what should an effective policy include and how can new policies be introduced?
  • How can employers manage allegations or suspicions of substance misuse and what approach should be taken?
  • Drug or alcohol testing – can an employer require this, when will it be appropriate and what are the consequences of an employee failing or refusing a test?
  • Occupational health and disciplinary issues arising out of substance misuse.
  • Consideration of data protection principles, including GDPR issues, impact assessments and guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office.
  • The interaction with Health and Safety obligations.

11.45    Coffee

12.00    Sally Rogers – Practical Workshop.

  • A great opportunity for interactive discussion with other HR professionals and our team of experienced employment solicitors.
  • Using case studies, we will be exploring scenarios that can arise on a day-to-day basis involving the issues involved in management of substance misuse at work.
  • Delegates build on their knowledge and share experience of best practice with other employers and HR professionals.

13.00    Lunch

14.00    Alexandra Robinson – Round-up of latest developments in employment law, including:

  • Legislation due to come into force in April 2020 as a result of the Good Work Plan.
  • Forthcoming provisions for parental bereavement leave and pay.
  • Off-payroll working in the private sector.
  • Changes to the taxation of termination payments over £30,000.

14.30    Alexandra Robinson – Case law round-up, including principles highlighted by cases on:

  • Re-engagement of employees in the case of an unfair dismissal.
  • Covert recordings of internal meetings by employees.
  • Responding to data subject access requests.
  • Publication of Employment Tribunal judgments online.
  • The role of an investigator in a disciplinary process.

15.00    Close

Booking information

£150 plus VAT per delegate (includes lunch)

FREE for retainer clients of Scrase Employment Solicitors

Please contact us on 0117 985 1026 or to book a place