Hundreds of companies illegally drug testing workers
Hundreds of companies in the Netherlands test their workplace staff for drug use, while that is prohibited by privacy laws, according to a study by journalistic platform Investico, Trouw, De Groene Amsterdammer and De Stentor report.
Dutch privacy law states that only drivers, skippers, train drivers and pilots can be tested for drugs. This must be done by a company doctor and the results are covered by medical confidentiality.
But Investico found that many companies also have staff that don't operate vehicles tested for drugs, and these tests are often done by the company's own security guards or external testing companies. According to the researchers, this involves tens of thousands of workers being illegally drug tested.
Sample tests by a meat processing company found that 5 percent of workers had used hard drugs, 6.5 percent marijuana, and 2.6 percent alcohol. Investico spoke to a number of migrant workers from Poland who work at the processor. They said that the workers there often use speed so that they can do their work faster, which is rewarded by their employer.
Another company that tests its workers for drugs is Arbofit. The company acknowledged that they do this illegally. The company was willing to share its results with the platform in order to break the "taboo on testing". "On behalf of the customer, we let health and safety prevail over privacy rules. Employees have the right to work safely," Arbofit said.