The 5 Guidelines for a Fair and Equal Drug-Free Workplace Policy
By Bill Nee, VP Sales/Marketing uVera Diagnostics
All companies should have a drug testing policy. If you don’t have one, you should establish one for your company. There are certain policies and procedures you should follow to make sure you are avoiding discrimination. By following legal, accepted and well-practiced drug testing policies, you can decrease drug abuse in the workplace and improve workplace ethics.
When it comes to implementing any company policies, you want to make sure it is done in a legal, ethical and non-discriminatory way. Below are the top 5 things you need to know to enforce drug testing equality:
1. You cannot be selective in who is drug tested. Drug testing cannot be based on race, sex, religion, etc. To ensure discrimination does not occur, there are specific reasons and times you can drug test employees including:
- Pre-employment screening – This drug screening occurs before the employee is ever hired. Every employee is screened for drugs before they are eligible to begin work.
- Random drug screening – A random drug screening is unannounced and given at an unpredictable time. Random drug screenings must be just that, random, to prevent discrimination. The selection process should be computer generated to avoid biases.
- Post-accident drug screening – If accidents happen in the workplace, in a company vehicle or in a situation requiring police involvement, a company may require a post-accident drug screening to make sure drug or alcohol abuse were not involved.
- Reasonable suspicion – Reasonable suspicion drug screening occurs when a supervisor has probable cause to believe an employee is using drugs. It is important to have clear, consistent definitions in your drug testing policy that constitutes drug abuse behaviors. In addition, supervisors should be adequately trained to observe and thoroughly document these suspicious behaviors.
- Periodic – Periodic drug screenings are set at certain times of the year, for every employee and do not change. They may be required at a yearly evaluation or during another specified time.
- Post-Rehabilitation or Return to Duty – When an employee has tested positive for drugs in the past, an employer will often require a return to duty drug screening to make sure drugs are not in the employee’s system. The employer may also require periodic post-rehabilitation drug screening for that employee.
2. Drug testing records must be kept confidential. Drug tests are personal health information, so only authorized people should have access to the records. Before a drug test is taken, an employee must sign a paper stating that their employer may receive the results. For more information on confidentiality and HIPPA rights visit the Office of Civil Rights HIPPA
3. All employees should receive and sign a copy of the drug testing policy. The policy should clearly state what constitutes a drug testing violation; what types of drug testing the company requires; what will happen if a violation occurs. By requiring each employee to sign the policy, employers will have documented proof that each employee was aware of the policy and procedures.
4. Enforce policy compliance legally. Drug testing policies should be clear in what constitutes a failed drug test and what disciplinary action the employer will take. This will ensure consistency and prevent discrimination.
5. Follow state procedures. Companies that receive certain federal grants or funding may be required to have a drug testing policy in place. However, there are also state laws to consider. Some states have certain requirements when it comes to drug testing, such as requiring a signed drug testing policy, or certain paperwork requirements for termination. Click here to browse state policies.
How Do I Implement a Drug Testing Policy?
- Our free ebook Drug Testing in the Business World. What Every Company Needs to Know can help guide your company through starting a drug testing program. Click here to download the PDF.
- The Department of Labor provides a comprehensive drug testing policy advisor, where you can answer questions and create a drug testing policy that caters to your company’s needs. Click here for the Department of Labor’s Drug-Free Workplace Advisor.
Consult with your lawyer
This information contains guidelines to establish a fair and equal drug testing policy. Every industry, state, and country has specific guidelines, so consult with your company’s attorney for those specifics.
uVera Diagnostics is a drug testing company providing FDA approved and CLIA Waived drug tests. To browse drug tests online click here. To learn more about drug tests, speak to a uVera Diagnostics representative by calling 1-866-242-5930.
Posted by Bill Nee, VP Sales/Marketing uVera Diagnostics and Co-designer and Developer of the CR3 split-sample drug test cup. Bill has 27 years in sales management and marketing and is a 12 year veteran of the drug testing industry. As a parent and co-worker, Bill’s energy is focused on drug testing on every level. Addiction is all around us in alcohol, prescriptions, and street drugs, and that is a constant reminder a drug-free society starts with each and every one of us.
For more information on drug testing, click here or call 1-866-242-5930.
This information is meant for awareness and education purposes only. Any medical or life-saving advice should come from experts. Always consult with your physician about any and all drugs. If it is an emergency, dial 911 or call emergency services.
Sources: webapps.dol.gov, smallbusiness.chron.com
Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net by Ambro (diverse business colleagues) and Stuart Miles (compliance) and (policy.)