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Finnish Legislation on Workplace Drug Testing

NCJ Number
Forensic Science International Volume: 174 Issue: 2-3 Dated: January 2008 Pages: 95-98
Matti E. Lamberg; Raila Kangasperko; Ritva Partinen; Pirjo Lillsunde; Kristiina Mukala; Katariina Haavanlammi
Date Published
January 2008
4 pages
This paper focuses on provisions of the workplace drug-test regulations in Finland's Act on Data Protection in Working Life, which went into effect on October 1, 2004.
Finland's Constitution limits employers' right to ask an employee to be drug tested and to process data concerning employee drug test results. The Act on the Status and Rights of Patients regulates the relationship between health professionals and patients in all health care processes. The central principle in health care procedures is the patient's autonomy. Workplace drug testing is a health care process and must follow the principles of this law. The purpose of the Act on Data Protection in Working Life is to address issues on the protection of private life specifically in the relationship between employee and employer. Under this legislation, an employer may process an employee's health information only when the employee personally supplies the employer with the data or if the employee has given informed consent for such information to be given to the employer; however, an employer may not process, even with the employee's consent, any health information not specifically authorized by the Act. The Act contains provisions of the right of an employer to process drug-test certificate data, not the actual drug tests. The certificate must only show that an employee has undergone a drug test and that an examination has been conducted to ascertain whether the employee has used drugs for other than medical purposes, such that his/her working capacity is harmed. Health care legislation has been amended to incorporate clear and detailed provisions on how health professionals shall proceed in drug-use testing at workplaces. The legislation guides drug-use testing so that its high level can be ensured. 8 references