Illicit drug use and employment

Illicit drug use and employment: legal approach, multidisciplinary perspective, comparative dimension
DROGACTIV
Conseil régional d'Aquitaine
Comptrasec UMR 5114 CNRS - University of Bordeaux / Psychiatry Lab, Department of Addiction Studies, University of Bordeaux (Mr Auriacombe, Professor, Hospital Practitioner)
5 years - October 2014-January 2020

On both a national and an international level, an increase in the consumption of certain substances is observed, particularly of illicit drugs, or even polyconsumption (alcohol, medicines, cannabis…). As a result of this general trend, but also due to various labour shifts, today’s workplace is increasingly confronted with addiction and the occupational risks to consumers or their colleagues. Though in France and in Europe as a whole, employers’ health and safety obligations towards their employees are today substantial, companies are also bound by the principle of respect of fundamental human rights and freedoms. Whilst avoiding any sweeping statements condemning drug-using employees as necessarily presenting a risk for the company, in a constructive approach it cannot be denied that there is a phenomenon that could potentially put employees’ health and safety at risk, or lead to management difficulties and company liability. What relevant and plausible legal options are available to strike a balance between the legal security of companies, respect of fundamental human rights and freedoms, the prevention of occupational risks and addiction treatment? The legal approach aims to consider, on one hand, workplace realities by developing a partnership with local socioeconomic stakeholders and, on the other hand, the findings and research questions of other disciplines by associating specialist researchers. It also takes a look at comparative law through an international seminar bringing together European and North-American academics.