Cannabis is proving to be the biggest problem for employees who are being drug-tested after years in the same job, according to research.

Statistics from the charity Release showed a fourfold rise in the amount of calls it received about this type of workplace practice, which is believed to be a way for some companies to avoid paying redundancy money.

During the first quarter of 2008, it took 31 phone calls about the issue, but the first three months of 2009 saw this number rise to 145.

After cutting staff, drug tests are undertaken to determine positive employees who can then be sacked, Release said.

While this type of medical is normal for those in certain sectors, office workers and bankers are not likely to have encountered them before.


The charity maintained that as well as breaching employees’ rights, it will not enhance performance at work.

One of Release’s aims is to campaign for changes to drug policy in the UK and “bring about a fairer and more compassionate legal framework to manage drug use in our society”.