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The Human Resources Institute of New Zealand

Human Resources Institute of New Zealand (HRINZ) is the professional body for those involved in Human Resource Management and the development of people.

HRINZ represents the interests of 3,000+ individual members who make up around 45% of the known New Zealand HR market. Read More

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Drug testing in the work place

As an employer, you can unilaterally introduce drug testing in your workplace even if it is not expressly provided for in the employment agreement but the drug testing policy must be reasonable and your employer should consult staff before implementing the policy.
What is reasonable will depend on the circumstances of your workplace. Drug testing in New Zealand will be regarded as reasonable only in relation to workplaces which contain "safety sensitive areas". This means there must be a close connection between performing your duties under the influence of drugs/alcohol and operational safety.

There has been recent court rulings regarding this subject such as NZ Amalgated Engineering and Manufacturing Union v Air NZ and MUNS and Ors v TLNZ.
However, the Courts have stated that as the employers must explain the reasons for the policy, how the testing will be carried out, the procedure for consent to testing, the consequences of refusing consent (ie disciplinary action), the type of testing (breath/urine/blood), and the possibility of medical review of test results. It is recommended for further impartiality, testing should be carried out by a reliable external agency.

HR Tool Kit:
Workplace Medical Issues
Alcohol and Drugs
HR Resource - Workplace Drug Testing
Employment Court Case Law


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Disclaimer: This information has been written for and submitted to HRINZ for publication and has been published in good faith for the general information of HRINZ Members of the Institute. HRINZ accepts no legal responsibility for the contents of the Knowledge Base and appropriate professional advice and assistance should be sought in particular cases.

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