Bob, a citizen of the UK, is a white collar employee of a UK construction company. They never engage in hazardous work or work that is, within the scope of its risk, can endanger others.

Can the employer fire Bob if they refuse to provide saliva sample for a marijuana test?


Can the employer fire Bob if they refuse to provide saliva sample for a marijuana test?

Maybe, if drug testing is an enforceable condition of Bob's contract of employment.

An employer's drug testing policy has to be justified according to the nature of the work carried out and requires an employee's consent. If Bob is required to occasionally operate machinery, for example, then it may be proportionate to include mandatory testing in his contract of employment.

Workers can’t be made to take a drugs test but if they refuse when the employer has good grounds for testing, they may face disciplinary action. Source


Employers have a legal duty of care under s.2 of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety, and welfare of their employees. Employees have a comparable duty under s.7 to take reasonable care of themselves and anyone who could be affected by their work.

This duty of care may extend to requiring an employee to give their consent for drug testing / screening - as long as the process is fair to all, proportionate and justified, in all the given circumstances, to enable the employer to discharge this duty.

  • 1
    This answer has some issues. (1) it relies on guidance not law. Absent a statutory provision to the contray, guidance is not legally binding and can be (and often is) inaccurate or lacking in nuance. (2) it misses the point in the guidance that consent is required (e.g. via the contract). So in OP's scenario if Bob's contract was silent on the issue then the answer would be "no" based solely on the test refusal.
    – JBentley
    Jul 4 '21 at 15:10
  • 1
    Hence "maybe"
    – Rick
    Jul 4 '21 at 19:23
  • @HBentley do you happen to know the relevant statutory provisions?
    – kisspuska
    Jul 4 '21 at 23:02

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