Random Drug Testing in a Safety Sensitive Workplace

In a recent ERA matter a construction labourer was dismissed by his employer after he failed a random drug test. He sought interim reinstatement. In the determination seeking interim reinstatement the ERA noted that the labourer operated in a safety sensitive environment.

The employer gave evidence that there were not many positions in its workplace that were not safety sensitive. Given the high reading recorded in the labourer’s drug test, the employer could fairly assume that the applicant was a potential hazard in the workplace and would need to be supervised very closely if interim reinstatement was ordered.

The ERA accepted that there would be inconvenience caused to the employer’s operations if they would have to take additional measures to accommodate the labourer in the interim to overcome health and safety concerns. On that basis the ERA declined to grant an order for interim reinstatement.