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Oral fluid drug testing over urine testing: three tribunal cases and three wins

24 January 2014 By ASU NSW United Services Branch (USU)

The USU/ASU has welcomed the most recent decision by Fair Work Commission which re-affirms the Commission's original decision to disallow an employer from conducting on-site urine testing on its employees for the detection of drugs. The employer Endeavour Energy had initiated the most recent case in an attempt to get the Commission's original 2012 decision varied, following an unsuccessful appeal to have the original decision overturned.

In the original case the unions did not oppose Endeavour Energy introducing a system for drug and alcohol testing of employees in the workplace provided testing for alcohol and drugs would be done on breath and on oral fluid respectively.

The Commission found that it would be unjust and unreasonable to use urine testing instead of oral testing to test employees for potential impairment. The Commission concurred with the view of the unions that oral fluid testing better detects recent use and is a better indicator of likely impairment that would affect an employee's ability to carry out their job safely. The Commission agreed with the unions' concern of urine testing potentially showing a result even several days after the use of a substance. The Commission stated that it would be unjust for employees to be found to be in breach of company drug and alcohol policy for personal actions taken in their own time, which do not affect their ability to safely carry out their duties.

Read the full story on the Branch website here

Contact Details
Name: Graeme Kelly, NSW United Services Branch (USU) Secretary
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