Is it possible to check the sobriety of employees - what changes await us?


Under the current regulations, preventive control of employees at work under the influence of alcohol or substances acting similarly by the employer is practically impossible. The sobriety of employees may only be checked by appropriate authorities, e.g. the police. However, this may change in the near future.

Why is the sobriety of employees important?

The sobriety of employees allows the employer to ensure safe and hygienic working conditions. Only the provisions of the GDPR made it impossible for employers to control the sobriety of employees - previously such prevention was possible. Controlling sobriety kept the workplace safe and prevented many dangerous situations. Sobriety testing was of great importance in the transportation and manufacturing industries. Currently, not only employers are calling for the restoration of the possibility of carrying out sobriety checks, but also trade unions and the employees themselves. In addition, they also want drugs and legal highs screening to be possible. No wonder - it will significantly improve safety at work.

Work on changing the regulations

The Ministry of Development, Labor and Technology is currently working on the regulations that the employers have been waiting for. They will enable them to carry out preventive checks on employees for the presence of alcohol or similar agents. The proposed regulation is to cover two categories of situations:

  • enabling employers (under certain conditions) to introduce preventive checks on employees for the presence of alcohol or substances similar to alcohol, and to define general rules for carrying out such checks;
  • introducing a comprehensive regulation that defines grounds for preventing the employer from performing work of an employee who is reasonably suspected that he or she appeared for work after using alcohol or substances similar to alcohol, or consumed alcohol or took such substances while working.

There are two modes in the project that prevent the employee from working:

  • on the basis of reasonable suspicion of the employer - when employees are not subject to sobriety control or control for the presence of substances acting similar to alcohol;
  • as a result of sobriety tests or checks for the presence of agents acting similar to alcohol.

When preparing the draft act, the Ministry of Development, Labor and Technology established cooperation with the Office for Personal Data Protection, thanks to which the sobriety of employees will be able to be checked while ensuring compliance with the GDPR. Employers will be able to independently control employees for the presence of alcohol or psychotropic substances, but respecting their right to privacy.

The prepared change will allow employers to check the sobriety of employees. This is especially important in the case of bus drivers, doctors and air traffic services. Therefore, some employers are waiting for such a change that will improve safety in workplaces.