Here at the Co-op we want to provide a safe and professional working environment for everyone. So it’s important that all our colleagues, and anyone else working in our premises, are clear about what we expect when it comes to drugs or alcohol at work.

Just so you’re aware, we also have a Drugs and Alcohol Testing Policy which applies if you:

  • visit or work in a Depot in Logistics
  • are in an operational role in Funeralcare (including the coffin factory)

The Drugs and Alcohol Testing Policy can be found on the colleagues site, or ask your manager for a copy.

Crucial bits

Just so everyone’s clear, any breach of this Policy may lead to disciplinary action, up to and including summary dismissal.

Coming into work

You mustn’t come into work if you’re under the influence of alcohol, drugs (including prescription medication) or Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) to the extent that your judgment, behaviour or ability to carry out your job is affected.

If you need to drive for work reasons, of course you must also be within the relevant legal drink drive limit.

If you’ve been prescribed medication that you think might affect your ability to do your job safely and efficiently, talk to your manager about this as soon as you can, and before you start work.

During work

You mustn’t consume alcohol or illegal drugs or abuse any substances (including NPSs and solvents) while you’re working, on Co-op premises or directly outside, or in any vehicle being used for Co-op business.

Work-related events

If you’re at a work-related event, including team social activities not held at a Co-op location, and choose to drink alcohol, we trust you’ll be responsible and remember you should behave respectfully and appropriately at all times.

You mustn’t be in possession of, sell, or purchase illegal drugs or other substances (including NPSs and solvents) while you are at a work-related event or activity.

Co-op policies still apply to you at events or activities that you’re attending because you work here. If you are at a work-related event or activity and you are found to be in possession of, or have taken drugs or your behaviour or judgement becomes impaired due to alcohol, you may be asked to leave the event and you’ll be invited to an investigatory meeting to discuss the matter.

Any inappropriate behaviour will be investigated under our Disciplinary Procedure and may lead to disciplinary action being taken against you, up to and including summary dismissal.

Illegal drugs

You mustn’t be in possession of, sell, or purchase illegal drugs or other substances (including NPSs and solvents) whilst you’re working, within Co-op premises or directly outside, or in any vehicle being used for Co-op business.

If you’re found in possession of illegal drugs whilst at work, or a work-related event or activity, we may report this to the police.

Things to think about

If your manager has reasonable grounds to think you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol whilst you’re at work, they’ll speak to you about the situation. If they think that you’re not in an appropriate condition to work, you’ll usually be suspended from work and invited to an investigatory meeting at a later date.

Drug or alcohol misuse/dependency

If you think you’ve got a problem with drug and/or alcohol misuse or dependency, we want you to talk to us before it becomes an issue at work. Your manager might talk to you if they notice any signs that suggest you could have a problem.

If you talk to your manager they’ll offer support and will keep things confidential, unless they have concerns about your safety or that of other people. They’ll offer appropriate support, such as encouraging you to see your GP, referring you to occupational health, or for alcohol/drug misuse-focused counselling through our EAP.

Co-op can also provide you with access to specialist substance misuse telephone cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) through our partner Rightsteps. There is a cost for this service, so you’ll need to discuss with your manager and ask them to refer you. They will then contact ER Services to make the referral, and you’ll have an initial telephone assessment to work out whether this type of treatment will be of help in your situation.

You also have access to online substance misuse support through Grocery Aid. You don’t need to be referred to this service and can sign up yourself online.

If you’re having treatment for a drug/alcohol problem and you need time off for appointments, there’s more information in the Time-Off for Dental and Medical Appointments Policy.


Unless the Testing Policy applies as set out at the beginning of this Policy, we won’t test you for the presence of drugs or alcohol but will make a decision about your continued employment based on the evidence we have.

If you need further support

If you have any questions about this Policy or if you believe that you have a problem with drug or alcohol abuse or dependency, please speak to your manager. If managers need advice they can contact ER Services.

If you need additional support, or you feel like you can’t talk to your manager, remember we have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) who can provide colleagues with support. You can contact the EAP on 0800 069 8854. It’s independent and totally confidential. And there’s no charge for Co-op colleagues.

Other sources of support

Alcoholics Anonymous:

Call: 0800 9177 650



Narcotics Anonymous:

Call: 0300 999 1212


FRANK - friendly, confidential advice about drugs:

Call: 0300 123 6600

Text: 82111