We read this article and noticed some questions about the effectiveness of your workplace drug testing program. We wanted to bring these questions to your attention by presenting a summary of the comments and, most importantly, the list of questions that will help you evaluate your workplace drug testing program. And we wanted to sprinkle some remarks into this post.
The question is not whether as an employer you will deal with a scenario in which an employee (or an employee’s immediate family member) has an addiction issue that creates life-altering problems for the employee, as well as operational readiness and/or legal liability issues for your company, but instead when you will encounter it.
However, the following is a starter list of issues for consideration to help you prepare now and be better positioned to navigate an addiction scenario legally and effectively when it arises.
- Do you utilize drug-testing at the pre-employment stage and during employment? [R&A Comment – your policy should list when a drug test may occur e.g. pre-employment, after-offer, reasonable suspicion, follow-up, random]
- If yes, is your program effective?
- Are your drug-testing policies up to date and legally compliant in the states in which you operate? [
- Are your drug-testing vendors utilizing the most effective drug-testing protocols?
- Are your behavioral expectations and related policies that discuss intoxication in the workplace up to date and legally complaint?
- Are your employees properly trained on such expectations and policies?
- Are your supervisors and managers trained on what to look for in terms of intoxication in the workplace?
- Are your supervisors and managers trained in how to respond if they believe an employee is intoxicated at work?
- Do you have a plan of action in place, to effectively respond to an overdose event in your workplace?
- Are your local first responders familiar with your facilities, such that they can timely respond to an overdose scenario?
- Do you have an effective Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that will help you and an employee who needs to go to rehab effectively navigate that process?
- Are you familiar with the applicable Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) regulations dealing with leave for an addiction rehabilitation stay?
- Are you familiar with the applicable Americans with Disability Act (ADA) provisions dealing with addiction issues?
- Are you aware of the significant overlap between addiction and unresolved, underlying mental health issues?
- Do you have a relationship with a mental health provider who can assist you in understanding how to identify and work with employees suffering from mental health issues that impair their ability to appropriately execute the essential functions of their job?
- Do you have an established plan of action for potentially returning an employee to work after he or she successfully completes a rehab program?
The Bottom Line
The reality is that addiction issues, especially opioid and alcohol addiction issues, are pervasive across our society, and directly or indirectly touch virtually everyone. Employers who take the time and effort to educate themselves on this vexing and complicated set of issues are much more likely to navigate them well, which yields many positive benefits both for employees and the company overall.
James P. Randisi, President of Randisi & Associates, Inc., has been helping employers protect their clients, workforce and reputation through implementation of employment screening and drug testing programs since 1999. This post does not constitute legal advice. Randisi & Associates, Inc. is not a law firm. Always contact competent employment legal counsel. To learn more about the rights of employees who test positive for marijuana, Mr. Randisi can be contacted by phone at 410.494.0232 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the website at randisiandassociates.com