Contacting HR

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London WC1E 7HB
Tel: +44 020 7679 1843

Alcohol & Drug Misuse

Scope of the Policy

This policy relates to all members of UCL staff and covers both alcohol and substance misuse, which in the context of this policy includes drug abuse.


  1. Members of UCL staff are expected to behave responsibly at all times and to safeguard their own health & safety and that of those around them. It is the responsibility of members of staff to ensure that their performance at work is not affected by alcohol consumption or substance misuse. Staff working with machinery or driving in the course of their work should not consume alcohol in the course of the working day or shift and should ensure that their performance is not impaired by alcohol consumed prior to starting work.
  2. Where a member of staff is required to work with drugs in the course of their duties they will be provided with appropriate information and/or training to enable them to undertake their work without compromising UCL safety & security procedures or risk to themselves.
  3. The extent of alcohol and substance misuse and the problems to which it gives rise are recognised by employers and the Health and Safety Executive whose publications provide guidance to employers. Alcohol and substance misuse result in costs to the employer and potential risks to employees, students and members of the public and can result in accidents, poor work performance and acts of misconduct. It is in the interests of UCL and its staff, that employees suffering from illness arising from alcohol dependence and substance misuse are identified and encouraged to seek specialist help as soon as possible.
  4. The procedure below applies to employees who are identified by a medical practitioner as suffering from an illness as a result of their dependence on alcohol or substance misuse which is affecting their conduct or work performance.
  5. The disciplinary procedure will apply in cases where an individual whose conduct or work performance is adversely affected by excessive alcohol intake or substance misuse and (s)he is shown not to be suffering from alcohol dependence or substance addiction.
  6. Where an employee’s alcohol dependence and/or substance addiction becomes evident in the course of disciplinary proceedings, consideration will be given as to whether it is appropriate to continue with the disciplinary process.
  7. In the event that an employee who is known to suffer from illness arising from alcohol dependence and/or substance misuse commits a disciplinary offence, account will be taken of the individual’s co-operation in treatment, and any other mitigating factors, when deciding what disciplinary action, if any, should be taken.
  8. In situations where members of staff are found to have been in possession of illegal substances at work or to have supplied them to others, disciplinary action will be taken.


  1. Any action taken in accordance with this procedure will be dealt with in confidence.
  2. In applying the following procedure, the Human Resources Division should be contacted as soon as an employee is known to be, or considered likely to be, suffering from illness arising from alcohol dependence or substance misuse. The employee will be entitled to be accompanied by a trade union representative in any discussions taking place under the auspices of this policy.
  3. Where an employee is diagnosed as suffering from illness arising from alcohol
    dependence or substance misuse, time off for recovery will be treated similarly to absence for any other medical condition and will qualify for entitlement under the sick pay scheme.
  4. Employees who are aware that they may be suffering from illness arising from alcohol dependence or substance misuse are encouraged to seek urgent specialist medical help and/or to contact the UCL Occupational Health Service for confidential advice.
  5. Where a supervisor or line manager becomes aware that an employee is suffering from illness arising from alcohol dependence or substance misuse, advice should be sought from the Human Resources Division as soon as possible. The employee should be offered the opportunity of referral to the Occupational Health Service or other source of specialist help.
  6. Where the employee agrees to co-operate in a treatment programme the required improvement in work performance will be outlined in writing, following consultation with the Occupational Health Service. In the event that an employee suffers a relapse after completion of, or during, treatment the case will be considered in light of its individual circumstances.
  7. Redeployment of a member of staff suffering illness resulting from alcohol dependency or substance misuse will be considered where appropriate. Consultation involving the member of staff, Human Resources Division and (where the employee wishes) a trade union representative, will take place before any decision on possible redeployment is made.
  8. Where an employee fails to respond to treatment and conduct or work performance continue to be affected, it will be necessary to consider termination of employment. Where appropriate any entitlement to ill- health retirement should be considered as an option.
  9. The operation of this policy will be monitored and kept under review by the Safety Committee and the Health & Safety Management Team.