With the rise in employees appealing their dismissal for contravening their company’s alcohol and drug policy, it is important companies ensure that, not only their policy, but also their procedures are robust and fit for purpose.
Some of the appeals are found to be spurious with the employee trying to bamboozle the company with information they have found off the internet. Most of these claims are put to bed before they end up in an employment tribunal, but for the genuine ones that get through, the company needs to be prepared and demonstrate that the decision to dismiss was a fair one backed by a good policy and supporting procedures.
As stated before in our previous articles, a robust policy is essential to minimise the risk from a claim, but what is sometimes overlooked are the procedures that support the policy and also associated policies such as the discipline and sickness absence policies.
All associated policies should mirror the wording used in the alcohol and drug policy as an inconsistency could lead to a claim from an employee of unfair dismissal.
It is also recommended that any procedures such as testing procedures are separate to the policy. The policy sets out the standards and requirements and the testing procedure is process to use. If the procedure is not followed correctly and is part of the policy, this could be challenged by an employee.
It is important that all managers who could use the policy and procedures are regularly trained and have a good understanding of how to use them. A recent tribunal commented that the company’s managers did not have a good understanding of the testing procedure and how to apply it. The tribunal recommended that the company carried out regular training to ensure all their managers had a good understanding of not only the policy but also the procedures.
A robust policy supported by associated policies and clear procedures is vital to minimise the risk of an appeal.
For further information on how to implement and manage an alcohol and drug policy with its associated procedures, please contact Hampton Knight on, 01827 65999 or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org.