Drug testing

The use of drug tests must be agreed on in the substance abuse prevention plan drawn up with the occupational health care service

Under certain conditions, the employer may require a job applicant or an employee already in an employment relationship to submit a certificate of a drug test. The employer may only handle and register information on drug use contained in the drug test certificate, and even then only with the employee’s consent. The employer is liable for the costs of the test.

Provisions on drug testing are included in the Act on Data Protection in Working Life. The employer requiring the testing must have a written substance abuse prevention plan in place as referred to in the Occupational Health Care Act.

Requesting a test certificate when seeking new job duties

A job applicant or an employee seeking new job duties may be required to submit a drug test certificate in only two cases:

  • for work in which drug use might endanger:
    • the life, health or occupational safety of the employee or other persons,
    • national defence or state security,
    • traffic safety,
    • the environment (increase the risk of significant environmental damage),
    • the data protection of confidential information, or
    • business and professional secrets;
  • or for work where the employee is to carry out tasks:
    • which will be performed elsewhere than in premises supervised by the employer and in which the performance of duties while under the influence of drugs may cause significant financial loss or danger to a customer (e.g. home care service),
    • which involve independent work among minors, or
    • in which there is independent and uncontrolled access to drugs or pharmaceuticals usable for intoxicating purposes.

A job applicant or employee may refuse to take a drug test, but in that case the employer need not take the application into account or consider the employee for appointment to the new job duties in question.

Requesting a drug test certificate during an employment relationship

The employer may require the employee to take a drug test during the employment relationship only if the employer has justifiable cause to suspect that the employee is under the influence of drugs at work or has a drug addiction, and if the employee performs work duties in which the performance of duties while under the influence of drugs:

  • seriously endangers the life, health or occupational safety of the employee or other persons,
  • seriously endangers national defence or state security,
  • seriously endangers traffic safety,
  • considerably increases the risk of significant environmental damage,
  • seriously endangers the data protection of confidential information,
  • endangers business and professional secrecy, or
  • could significantly increase the risk of illegal trading of drugs or other intoxicating substances available to the employee through the work.

The employer may also require a drug test certificate from an employee who has pledged to undergo treatment for drug abuse and agreed to the monitoring of progress of the treatment.

If the employee does not submit a drug test certificate to the employer, this is principally considered negligence of job duties, and as such may (depending on the overall situation) result in a warning, termination with notice or even cancellation of the employment contract without notice.