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Alcoholism and Drug Abuse -- Some Legal Issues for Employers

NCJ Number
British Journal of Addiction Volume: 85 Issue: 5 Dated: (May 1990) Pages: 593-603
G Howard
Date Published
11 pages
Three specific areas of the law concern employers faced with problems of addiction in the workplace.
At common law an employer may be guilty of negligence where a person has suffered personal injuries or economic loss as a result of an act of negligence committed in the course of employment by an employee. An example would be an employee with a serious addiction to alcohol or drugs who caused an accident in the company car whilst on company business. Employers may also be guilty of a criminal offense for breach of a statutory duty. One such duty is to have a 'safe system of work.' Other statutory rights guarantee employees a right not to be unfairly dismissed and this includes employees with addiction problems. Lastly, employers must be careful not to break the contract of employment if, for example, an employee with an addiction problem were to be suspended from duty or have his company car withdrawn, even if this was a temporary measure only. 4 notes, 41 references. (Author abstract)