Legal highs and alcohol misuse – Management within the workplace

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Employment Law on Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Acas has just issued guidance on the recognition and management of the use of legal highs and alcohol in the workplace and its connected impact.

Statistics show that alcohol is the cause of 5% of all sickness absence recorded within the workplace. The cost of alcohol excesses and misuse for employers is extensive.

Acas has just issued guidance on the recognition and management of the use of legal highs and alcohol in the workplace and its connected impact.

Statistics show that alcohol is the cause of 5% of all sickness absence recorded within the workplace. The cost of alcohol excesses and misuse for employers is extensive.

The advent of on-line pharmacies and the greater number of ‘legal highs’ being introduced into the marketplace is also having an impact and is harder and harder to regulate. Just because a drug is ‘legal’ it does not mean it isn’t harmful to an individual or can have an impact on their cognitive function and ability to do their job.

It is possible to buy legal highs on the high street and an alarming number of potentially lethal prescription drugs over the internet.

Employers have to be savvy, observant and implement and maintain a strict but fair policy in relation to drug and alcohol misuse within the workplace. If you have a concern about an employee’s repeated absence due to the excesses from the night before, engage with them and address the issue. They may a) not be able to do their job effectively the following morning and b) this could be evidence of a more serious problem which they need to face. Purely implementing a disciplinary procedure for high levels of sickness absence or for being intoxicated within the workplace is not going to resolve the issue. Of course, if harm is posed to others then serious action will have to be taken.

In terms of legal highs and prescription drugs you can still maintain a robust approach to these even if they are deemed to be legal. A drug policy is not limited to those drugs that are classed as ‘illegal’ by the government. If any substance, albeit alcohol or drugs has an impact on an employee or poses a risk to them or your other staff then this must be addressed. You may want to update your drug policies to include reference to legal highs and prescription drugs in the same way that smoking policies now need to reference ‘vaping.’

If you have any queries in relation to the above topic or other employment related queries please do not hesitate to contact us.

Awards and Accolades

  • image awards
  • image awards
  • image awards
  • image awards
  • image awards