Workplace drug testing is a tricky subject for some workers in the EU. It is possible for some employers to request drug samples from employees to provide medical screening tests for banned substances.
However, there are lots of rules and regulations in place that determine the nature of the test and the way that it performs. There are also different rules in place for employers in different member states.
It is important that workers and their employers know their rights before asking for, or agreeing to these medical screening tests.
Medical Screening Tests – EU Workplace Laws For Workers
1. EU Workplace Medical Testing Laws And Their Evolution
The EWDTS is the leading organization on the creation of workplace drug testing guidelines. They regularly update the codes of conduct for different types of medical screening. This includes urine, oral fluid, and hair samples.
The problem is that these guidelines are extensive and difficult to follow. It can be difficult for a worker to know their precise rights and to inform employers of malpractice if it occurs.
Some rules are being updated, but there are European laws that have been in place for decades that still apply. Employees cannot forget the underlying right to privacy in the European Convention on Human Rights.
There is also the European Directive 89/391/EEC that buys into encouraging improvements in the health and safety of employees in the workplace. In addition to this, Article 8 of the EU Directive 95/46/EC on data protection prohibits the processing of personal health data.
This applies in all be exceptional circumstances. This is strengthened by the European Social Agenda of 2005 that was brought to increase the protection of personal information in the workplace.
2. The EU Member States Have Different Rules And Regulations.
There are clear EU guidelines in place to protect employee rights. However, it is also important that companies and workers are aware of national laws. An excellent example of this is view in the hiring processes of German and UK companies. In the UK, employers are advised not to ask candidates about their medical history, unless crucial for the position.
This means that they cannot ask about the medication that they are taking. German employers can do things a little differently. Here is it fine to call for a screening test and carry out before hiring a candidate. There is also a gray area in UK workplace drug testing law where employers can refuse a test, yet risk disciplinary action.
3. What Should Employers Do If They Feel That These EU Drug Test Laws Are Being Broken?
Many employees are unsure of their rights as a European citizen when asked for a drug test in the workplace. Guidelines are often confusing and do not fully explain their rights and the best course of action.
It is essential that employers conduct the process in a responsible, legal manner that protects the privacy and dignity of the donor. It is also vital that companies use accredited laboratories that can be trusted. Employees can appeal f there is any doubt of good practice or good reason for the test.