Balancing Employer Policies and Employee Rights: The Role of Legislation in Addressing Workplace Alcohol and Drug Testing Programs

  • Clarissa Pearce


Workplace alcohol and drug policies create tension between employer safety interests and employee privacy rights. Despite numerous legal challenges, the appropriate balance between employer and employee interests has not yet been decided. This lack of clarity is apparent in the various policies of employers, human rights commissions, and the rights asserted by affected employees. The article examines “model” policies of the petroleum and construction sectors and analyzes jurisprudence surrounding various forms of alcohol and drug testing, keeping the distinction between union and non-union approaches. It points to a lack of cohesion in jurisprudence and alcohol and drug testing policy models, and urges the implementation of legislation for greater certainty in the field.