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6 Things You Need in Your Drug-Free Workplace Policy

Posted: Jul 05 2018

By: Kolleen Harkson

If you run a business, you hopefully know by now the importance of having a drug-free workplace policy. This policy is a set of guidelines and rules regarding drug and alcohol use, that help to keep the workplace free of unwanted substances and maintain a safe and comfortable work environment for all. Another important reason you need a drug-free workplace policy is to give yourself legal protection should substance abuse occur in your place of business. This policy outlines how you are to handle these situations, as well as your rights — and the rights of your employees. Here are six things your drug-free workplace policy should have.

The Reason for the Policy

Explain to your staff members why you need a policy in the first place. First and foremost, it's for everybody's protection. This is especially relevant if your business uses tools, heavy machinery, or anything else that carries an inherent risk and could be even more dangerous should someone try to use them under the influence.

Explain to your team this policy will help reduce injuries, improve productivity, and show you have a serious interest in their health, happiness, well-being, and safety.

What the Expectations Are

Who does the policy apply to? What is acceptable and what is prohibited? Particularly during a time when legal recreational marijuana use is growing across the country, you as an employer need to be even more careful when it comes to clarifying what you will and will not tolerate in the workplace. For example, what if an employee gets high over the weekend, comes back to work the following Monday no longer feeling the effects, but still tests positive for THC?

Your policy doesn't apply only to people who appear to be high. It should also cover the possession, solicitation for, and sale of substances.

This is especially important considering the spreading legalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana. Will you allow employees to come to work under the influence if they have their medical marijuana card? How much THC can they have in their system before they're too high? Can they carry marijuana on them while on work property? If so, how much?

On this note, remember that regardless of the law, employers still maintain the right to decide what they will and will not allow in their workplace when it comes to marijuana.

Lastly, don't forget prescription drugs — both in the case that the employee has a prescription, but also if they do not have one. Prescription drug abuse is a large (and growing) problem in this country. It's important to address it in your policy.

All of these details (and many more) should be in your drug-free workplace policy.

How You Will Help Your Employees Follow the Policy

Will you provide regular training? Should an employee ever test positive, will you work with them to get them back on track so they can return to work? Aside from outlining the consequences for bad behavior, your policy should also make clear to employees if and how you are willing to work with them should they be found with a substance abuse problem.

employees gathered around a laptop

How You Determine Reasonable Suspicion

What counts as reasonable suspicion? Who on the staff is responsible for determining if an employee appears to be under the influence? Does reasonable suspicion also apply to any time you find an employee in possession of a certain substance on workplace property, even if they don't appear impaired? Does it count if it's in their locker? Their car?

If you're going to require them to submit to a drug test, how much time do they have to do so? What if they refuse?

On a similar note, if a test comes back negative and the employee missed work to complete it — and as a result, lost their pay for that time — will you reimburse them?

These are all concerns you must address in your own policy. US Drug Test Centers is able to provide online training for managers and supervisors that helps them look out for signs and symptoms of drug use in the workplace for cause of reasonable suspicion.

How You Conduct Random Testing

How do you ensure the testing is truly random? Does a third party select the employees who will be asked to take a test?

US Drug Test Centers has a nationwide network of 20,000+ collection sites for drug testing. We also have a cloud-based software that allows your company to create a truly randomized testing program. No matter when they are selected for random testing, we can send them to the collection site closest to their location.

employees in cubiclesHaving a reliable method for selecting employees at random is so important because it reduces the liability on the part of the employer. Random testing needs to be truly random, making it crucial to select a third party, like US Drug Test Centers, to do it for you.

What Happens When Someone Violates the Policy

If an employee's drug test comes back positive, what happens next? Can they return to work? Will you require further testing at regular intervals? Will they have advanced notice?

As you can see, your policy should cover a lot of territory. It's a big responsibility, so you might find yourself in need of more guidance. That's where we come in.

US Drug Test Centers not only conducts a wide array of drug tests, but we’ll also help you write your drug-free workplace policy, choose employees for random testing, and verify all results are accurate. We have more than 20,000 drug testing sites across the nation, so we're always within reach. Contact us today to learn more.


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