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Substance Abuse at Work - A Legal Headache for Employers

View profile for Clare Bowen
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Clare Bowen, Head of HR Services at JCP Solicitors manages a team who provide outsourced HR services to businesses in a range of sectors. Clare's expertise and experience is welcomed by her diverse client base; from manufacturing companies, to healthcare practices and charities.

“Alcohol and drug misuse in the workplace is a growing issue, with key ethical and legal implications for employers. According to latest figures* one in 12 16 to 59-year-olds have used an illicit drug, so it is no wonder that misuse at work is something many employers are becoming increasingly attuned to.

“The use of drugs or alcohol at home can lead to impaired function and lower productivity the next day at work. And, of course, the use of drugs and alcohol within the workplace itself, or during someone’s breaks, can lead to greatly increased risks of accident or harm, both to those who have used drugs and alcohol and to their colleagues or to any members of the public they might come in contact with.

“Employers, Managers and HR Professionals need to look carefully at their policies and procedures and consider whether they are robust enough to tackle this issue, since there are serious legal implications for employers who fail to address substance misuse at work.

“In particular manufacturing companies and workplaces that operate heavy duty machinery should ensure they have strict policies in place to protect their employees from possible harm caused by others under influence. In a similar guise, employers should also seriously consider their responsibilities when an employee reports ill health or ill health is suspected.

“Most employers are also very keen to offer their staff meaningful support if they have substance misuse issues and this is something that should be considered within a legal framework too.”

In 2017 JCP Solicitors will be running free HR workshops on the following topics:

When Employee Health Issues Cause Safety Concerns

An overview of the responsibilities of an employer when an employee reports ill health or ill health is suspected within the manufacturing and construction industry.

What employers can expect in 2017

A look ahead focussing on the years main employment changes, notable case law decisions to be expected and future law changes.

Disciplinary Process and Procedures

Answers to common questions (and more) on disciplinary processes and procedures.

Dealing with Awkward Situations in the Workplace and Common Mistakes

This session will cover common awkward situation that arise within the workplace, how to deal with them, avoiding common mistakes.

To book your place at one of our free workshops, or to discuss the contents of this article further contact Clare on 01792 529623 or by emailing: clare.bowen@jcpsolicitors.co.uk

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