Drug and Alcohol Testing Drug and Alcohol Testing
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  1. #1

    Nervous Newbie


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    Default Drug and Alcohol Testing

    Hi Everyone,

    My current client has just introduced a workplace drug and alcohol testing policy and they seem to think that this can apply to me as a contractor. My view is that it shouldn't as it isn't included in any contract that I've signed.

    Were I to take the test I'd pass so there's no worry there but I disagree with workplace testing for ethical reasons unless there is risk of harm so I'd rather not submit to the test. I also suspect the process (monitored urine sample to be taken) would be somewhat demeaning.

    The question in short is, do I have to take the test?

  2. #2

    I Am Legend


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    You don't have to take the test. At best you will cast suspicion upon yourself. At worst, contract will be terminated.

    Personally I would take the test.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shep View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    My current client has just introduced a workplace drug and alcohol testing policy and they seem to think that this can apply to me as a contractor. My view is that it shouldn't as it isn't included in any contract that I've signed.

    Were I to take the test I'd pass so there's no worry there but I disagree with workplace testing for ethical reasons unless there is risk of harm so I'd rather not submit to the test. I also suspect the process (monitored urine sample to be taken) would be somewhat demeaning.

    The question in short is, do I have to take the test?
    Suppose it depends on the role and your workplace, drug testing is the norm in high profile or sensitive gigs.

    Politely explain to them that as a supplier you are happy to take the test, however can you reword the request so as to differentiate it from the permies
    “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.”

    ― Marcus Aurelius

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by SimonMac View Post
    Suppose it depends on the role and your workplace, drug testing is the norm in high profile or sensitive gigs.

    Politely explain to them that as a supplier you are happy to take the test, however can you reword the request so as to differentiate it from the permies
    This sounds more anger inducing than not doing it at all

    Compromise and give them a stool sample. It's one of those annoying things really that you may just have to take on the chin for a quiet life - after all, the contracting world isn't the ethical place to be generally.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by PerfectStorm View Post
    Compromise and give them a stool sample. It's one of those annoying things really that you may just have to take on the chin for a quiet life - after all, the contracting world isn't the ethical place to be generally.
    I'm not sure a stool sample is a compromise - that sounds even worse!

    As for the ethics, I guess it depends on where you draw the line - I'm happy with the debatable financial ethics of contracting but enforced drug and alcohol testing is a breach of civil liberties in my opinion. Whether I take drugs or not shouldn't matter so long as it doesn't affect my work. Nothing I do could cause harm to others - it'll just mean some software doesn't work or takes longer to write.

    All that said, it seems that the consensus is that they can't legally require it of me but that they could just terminate the contract anyway as I'm not an employee. I'll just have to decide whether my principals on this are more important than the job...

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shep View Post
    I'm not sure a stool sample is a compromise - that sounds even worse!

    As for the ethics, I guess it depends on where you draw the line - I'm happy with the debatable financial ethics of contracting but enforced drug and alcohol testing is a breach of civil liberties in my opinion. Whether I take drugs or not shouldn't matter so long as it doesn't affect my work. Nothing I do could cause harm to others - it'll just mean some software doesn't work or takes longer to write.

    All that said, it seems that the consensus is that they can't legally require it of me but that they could just terminate the contract anyway as I'm not an employee. I'll just have to decide whether my principals on this are more important than the job...
    Breach of civil liberties my arse. It's a requirement to work on certain sites. You can either abide or you can leave. It's not a civil liberty issue at all. You have a choice in it all to keep your civil liberties if you want.

    Drug and alcohol testing is about fit for client site. It's not an IR35 issue so no need to reword IMO.
    'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by northernladuk View Post
    You can either abide or you can leave. It's not a civil liberty issue at all.
    I think I agree that it's an abide or leave situation - it's a shame but that is how it is.

    That said, it definitely is a civil liberty issue. I have a right to privacy and I would rather choose to tell people that a don't take drugs rather than them demanding to find out. There is no reasonable justification for them to need to know this information about me. My brother is a surgeon and he doesn't have to undergo drug testing even though there would definitely be justification for that so why should a software developer need to reveal that information?
    Last edited by Shep; 22nd October 2019 at 12:29.

  8. #8

    More time posting than coding


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    It would be interesting to know where they draw the line at applying this to their suppliers. Do ALL suppliers now have to have the test before coming on site, or only those they really think are employees?

  9. #9

    Fingers like lightning


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    Because most software developers take drugs


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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paralytic View Post
    It would be interesting to know where they draw the line at applying this to their suppliers. Do ALL suppliers now have to have the test before coming on site, or only those they really think are employees?
    I'm pretty sure it's the latter but I'll definitely check.

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