1. Home
  2. Events and webinars
  3. Drugs and Alcohol in the workplace – Everybody’s Business


Drugs and Alcohol– Everybody’s Business

Learn about the contemporary issues in the AOD space that are confronting many businesses today.

Online | Wednesday, 27th September 2023

For any business keen to minimize its exposure to insurance claims, damages claims and vicarious liability in employee misconduct cases and to understand the TR Drugs and Alcohol workshop is a must-attend. 

Australia’s top lawyers and clinical experts will provide valuable insights and advice on how to navigate drug and alcohol misconduct at work and how to mitigate and manage claims when and if they arise. It’s an $80m hangover for Australian employers and the seminar cannot be missed.

Drug and alcohol use and abuse are common features of many Australian workplaces. Risks for employees, their colleagues and the business are well understood, but getting the right policies and preventions in place which will keep the workplace safe and productive, is a much greater challenge. Making sure the rights and freedoms of workers are preserved and that Christmas parties and other work social functions are still enjoyable, only add to the complexity of developing the right hiring, firing, testing, management and prevention regimes. The Thomson Reuters workshop, Drugs and Alcohol at Work- Everybody’s Business, brings together a range of experts: leading lawyers, HR practitioners and clinicians, to deliver the best and most up to date advice and be tested with your questions. 

For more information, please email us at eventsanz@thomsonreuters.com or call us +61 2 9171 9768.

Date & Location

Wednesday, 27th September 2023


9:00am – 4:00pm AEST


[ Early bird ] $575 + GST*
[ Full price ] $675 + GST

6 CPD points

* Save $100. Early bird closes 3rd August 2023

Event agenda


Welcome and Introduction 


Pru Goward


The physical application of testing. 
An informative session delivered by Queensland Medical Laboratories Chief Toxicologist, Dr Charles Appleton on how devices work, why testing requires both field screening and laboratory analysis to be accurate and what substances do to an individual’s performance, judgement, and safety. 


Dr Charles Appleton, Chief Toxicologist, Queensland Medical Laboratories


Developing a Robust Alcohol and Other Drugs Policy for the Australian Workplace
A drug and alcohol policy might form part of an organisation's overall employee well-being or “fitness for work” strategic program and become embedded within a larger program or alternatively it might exist as a related yet separate entity with its own policy and procedure documents.  The development of a sound, legally defensible policy is reliant on understanding the strategic drivers of the safety environment and the place that an AOD policy will fit within the larger safety environment within the organisation.  In this presentation, Fit4Duty’s Group General Manager, Scott Osborne provides us with an overview of both the strategy and policy components of Alcohol and other Drugs testing in a modern organisation.


The Compliance Framework: Forensic Science, Quality Assurance, Industrial Relations, Human Resources and Contractor Management, Legal Defensibility


Policy Development: Policy Checklist, Mistakes and Mis-steps


Scott Osborne, Group General Manager, Fit4Duty


What are the laws covering drug and alcohol use in the workplace in 2023?

This session will cover the application of laws relating to drug and alcohol use in the workplace including those in relation to 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 the implications of drugs and alcohol usage in the workplace, including:
- The significant impact that illicit drugs and alcohol used during, and outside work hours can have on work health and safety;
- The vicarious liability of employers when employees use illicit drugs and alcohol during and outside work hours;
- Employers’ rights and ability to infringe upon their employees’ privacy to monitor illicit drugs and alcohol use; and
- Whether an employee can be dismissed for being affected by illicit drugs or alcohol at work?


Liam Fraser, Partner, Kingston Reid


Morning tea


Panel Session
What would you do if?

12:20PM Lunch - break

The emerging issue of Medical Cannabis in the workplace

Medicinal cannabis has become prevalent in many workplaces and many employers are wrestling with an appropriate policy response that respects the rights of the individual worker whilst also securing the safety of the workplace.  In session, Scott Osborne returns to provide some strategy and policy frameworks to tackle this issue.

- How the law interfaces with AOD policy

- Discrimination and AOD Policy

- Typical formulation of Medicinal Cannabis

- Typical concerns about medicinal cannabis

- Medicinal Cannabis in the testing process

- Response summary


Scott Osborne, Group General Manager, Fit4Duty


Deep dive into the contentious issues of the employers rights to drugs and alcohol testing and associated consequences.


Kate Walawski, Barrister


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


Elizabeth Radley, Partner, Moray & Agnew 

Madelaine August, Partner, Moray & Agnew



1. Drinks in the Office
2. Employer denies using drugs ends up in accident and tests positive