The Thomson Reuters 2nd annual Managing Drugs & Alcohol in the Workplace Conference is taking place in February 2022.

Drug and alcohol addictions among employees can be an expensive problem for employers, with issues ranging from lost productivity, absenteeism, injury, rising health cost and workers' compensation costs.

The conference will cover the evolving legal requirements, how to provide a safe work environment and best practices in preventive strategies for drugs and alcohol in the workplace. The conference aims to help you meet the legal obligations and foster best practices workplace cultures that keeps employees safe. The conference will provide both legal advisor and HR, WHS and Wellness practitioner with pragmatic, practical guidance on range of current and contentious issues.

We look forward to you joining us.

For any event enquiries, please email eventsanz@thomsonreuters.com.

Dates & Locations

Brisbane 24 February 2022
Livestream 24 February 2022

Your investment

Conference

Early Bird* $650 + GST

Full price $750 + GST

Livestream

Early Bird* $595 + GST

Full price $695 + GST

*Early bird closes 21 January 2022

Register now

Agenda

9:00AM

Welcome from the Chair


Susan Moriarty, Principal, Susan Moriarty & Associates

9:05AM

What are the laws covering drug and alcohol use in the workplace?

This session will cover the laws relating to drug and alcohol use in the workplace including work health and safety, employment, privacy, and anti-discrimination. A review of the latest cases in these areas will also help you gain insights into judicial trends, awards and any policy issues that require specific attention.

Liam Fraser, Partner, Kingston Reid

9:45AM

Developing a drug and alcohol policy – balancing legal and practical considerations

A good drug and alcohol policy can be an invaluable tool for managing health and safety in your workplace, provided any such policy is implemented fairly and administrated reasonably to balance employees’ rights with employers’ obligations.

  • What circumstances should a policy cover?
  • Who should be included?
  • How to effectively consult with employees and unions
  • Privacy considerations

Edmund Burke, Partner, Holding Redlich

10:25AM

Break

10:45AM

Drugs and alcohol testing: critical issues and considerations

  • Overview of testing: what are the benefits and drawbacks of each testing methodology?
  • Best practices in testing
  • What happens when there is a non-negative result?
  • Issues with sample collection and analysis processing
  • Mandatory and random testing implications and issues
  • Considerations for high-risk industries such as Civil Aviation Safety Authority and mining

Dr Sid O’Toole, Occupational and Environmental Physician and Medical Review Officer, Phoenix Occupational Medicine

11:25AM

Pre-employment screening for drugs and alcohol: reducing risk and ensuring equitable and non-discriminatory hiring practices

Pre-employment medical assessments for drugs and alcohol can be a workforce risk management tool to screen individuals for risk factors that may impact their ability to perform a job safely and effectively. This session will discuss:

  • Implementing testing programs in accordance with legal guidelines
  • Preventing legal challenges to hiring practices
  • What are the employee obligations for disclosure?
  • What are the rights of employer to conduct pre-employment screening?
  • Preventing unlawful discrimination in hiring

Tom Reaburn, Senior Associate, McCullough Robertson

12:05PM

Lunch and networking break

1:00PM

Fit for Work, rehabilitation, and facilitating return to work

Increasingly, employers are taking proactive steps to address drug or alcohol problems by establishing or promoting programs focused on improving health. By encouraging and supporting treatment, employers can dramatically assist in reducing the negative impact of addiction in the workplace and improving workplace engagement, while reducing their costs.

  • Identifying and managing alcohol and drug related problems
  • Workplace policies and fitness for work procedures
  • Rehabilitation and facilitating return to work

Dr Nicole Lee, CEO 360Edge and Adjunct Professor National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University

1:40PM

What are the disciplinary options available when a drug and alcohol test has been failed

  • When can an employee be dismissed for being affected by illicit drugs or alcohol at work?
  • If an employee returns a positive sample to a test what are the disciplinary actions?
  • If an employee refuses to undertake reasonable testing in line with their employment obligations what are the next steps?
  • What are the disciplinary options available to employers – warnings, dismissal, rehabilitation, training
  • Steps to minimise a successful unfair dismissal, adverse action or discrimination claim when taking disciplinary action

Wendy Fauvel, Executive Counsel, Herbert Smith Freehills

2:20PM

Networking and refreshment break

2:40PM

Managing sick leave and long-term absences from the workplace due to drug and alcohol issues

Managing long term absences in the workplace is difficult and sensitive when concerning drug and alcohol issues. The session will help you understand your rights and responsibilities including:

  • Managing and supervising absenteeism
  • Assessing an employee’s fitness to work
  • Issuing formal warnings
  • Dealing with employees who refuse or are unwilling to return to work and lessons from recent cases

Alanna Fitzpatrick, Special Counsel, K&L Gates

3:20PM

Christmas parties and after hours work functions

Social gatherings such as Christmas parties, after work drinks and client events all feature alcohol in the workplace. What does this mean in terms of your D&A policy?

  • How the definition of ‘at work’ can extend to any place where an employee performs work duties
  • Responsible service of alcohol obligations
  • Lesson from recent case law (Trudi Puszka v Ryan Wilks Pty Ltd [2019] FWC 1132) and McDaid v Future Engineering and Communication Pty Ltd [2016] FWC 343
  • Advice for creating a responsible drinking culture in the workplace

Rohan Tate, Associate, Maurice Blackburn

4:00PM

Closing remarks from the chair and end of conference

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