Employer drug and alcohol policies: What to include

In today's society, it is important for employers to have a written drug and alcohol policy for their employees.

In today's society, it is important for employers to have a written drug and alcohol policy for their employees. The health and well-being of a company’s employees is critical to the success of each employee, as well as the company. This article will outline key points that should be included in an employer's drug and alcohol policy.

A drug and alcohol policy should include:

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FURTHER READING:

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The ethics of a lawyer's use of marijuana

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  • A clear statement that it is against company policy to consume or possess alcoholic beverages on company property, or to report to work impaired or under the influence of alcohol. The policy should go on to state that employees are prohibited from driving a vehicle for work-related purposes, or operating equipment while impaired or under the influence of alcohol.
  • A clear statement that the possession, use, sale, or consumption of any controlled substance or illegal drug as defined by state or federal law (including marijuana) while on company property, or while in the course and scope of employment is prohibited. In addition, the policy should state employees are prohibited from driving a vehicle for work-related purposes, or operating equipment, while impaired or under the influence of any controlled substance and/or illegal drugs (including marijuana).
  • The policy should state that an employee who is prescribed medication by a healthcare provider that may affect or impair the employee’s ability to safely or competently perform his or her job, must inform his or her supervisor of the situation. The policy should state that the company reserves the right to temporarily or permanently re-assign the employee to another position if it is determined such re-assignment will protect the safety of the employee, other company employees, company customers and the general public. Information provided by the employee will be kept confidential by management.
  • If your company has a pre-employment drug and alcohol testing policy, the drug and alcohol policy should include a summary of that policy.
  • If your company has a reasonable suspicion testing policy, the drug and alcohol policy should describe that policy in detail.
  • If your company has a random drug testing policy, the drug and alcohol policy should describe the random testing program.
  • If your company requires post-accident/post-injury drug and alcohol testing, this should be described within the drug and alcohol policy. In addition, if your State allows a reduction in workers compensation benefits if an employee tests positive for drugs or alcohol, the drug and alcohol policy should inform employees of that State law.
  • The policy should describe the consequences if an employee tests positive for alcohol or drugs.

A written drug and alcohol policy should be disseminated to all employees at the time of hire. Each employee should be required to fully execute and date the drug and alcohol policy. This provides the employer with proof the employee received the drug and alcohol policy. The executed policy should be kept in each employee's personnel file.

Companies must be mindful that if it implements a drug and alcohol policy, the policy must be enforced equally with all employees. This means that the company must abide by its own policy with respect to pre-employment testing, and under what circumstances an existing employee is tested. If the company drug and alcohol policy states the company has a “zero tolerance” policy, the company must ensure that it always enforces its zero tolerance policy.

Contributing Author

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Michelle R. Magruder

Michelle R. Magruder is a director at Fairfield and Woods P.C. in Denver, a Meritas member firm. She has extensive trial and hearing experience, particularly...

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