Morton Grove, Illinois: InOut Labs today announced that they are helping employers to adapt their substance abuse policies to deal with changing state laws regarding legalized marijuana.
Every employer needs a drug and alcohol policy, whether or not actual testing is performed. A policy not backed up by testing, however, is at risk of failure. If there is no testing, there is no deterrence.
Who will be tested — and when?
This question is one of many that employers must answer when crafting a drug and alcohol policy.
Developing a drug and alcohol policy begins with a concern about safety or productivity, and a decision that there will be zero tolerance for substance use in the workplace. And then defining what “zero tolerance” means.
“A zero tolerance policy does not necessarily mean workers are automatically terminated with a positive drug test,” says Tim Thoelecke, president of InOut Labs, “but it does imply that there will be consequences. Consequences can include required counseling, temporary suspension, eventual termination, and follow up testing.”
Federally regulated employees must be tested under regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In DOT and non-DOT safety-sensitive positions immediate termination is often the consequence, but many employers offer ”second chance” or “last chance” agreements in an effort to work with employees they want to keep, as long as they are willing to accept counseling and treatment.
Ask the right questions to form your drug and alcohol policy
- Will a drug and alcohol testing program be implemented?
- Are any employees covered by DOT requirements?
- What are the expected policy outcomes? Improved safety and productivity? Lower workers comp premiums?
- What are management expectations for employee behavior when it comes to drugs and alcohol?
- Under what conditions will testing take place? Pre-employment? Post-accident? Reasonable suspicion? Random?
- What drugs will be tested?
- How will you deal with medical marijuana? Recreational marijuana?
- Who determines whether a reasonable suspicion situation exists?
- Will Supervisor training be required?
- What is the basis for employee selection for random testing (i.e. by department, unit, job description, location, etc.)?
- What are the consequences should an employee refuse to be tested?
- Employee Assistance Programs, counseling services, and who pays?
- Consequences for failing a test.
- What is the company policy on alcohol and drugs at workplace functions like office parties and other company functions?
- Will you require a retest for a negative-dilute test result?
- How is accident/incident information documented?
- What is the policy for an employee returning to work after completing counseling or treatment?
Is this really necessary for a small business? Yes.
Developing a drug and alcohol policy is important for all sizes of businesses. Safety risks exist in the five-person business as well as the 500-person enterprise. And it’s much more painful for the smaller business.
A well-written policy protects the employer and employees and ensures legal and personnel requirements are met and integrated with the values of the organization.
Efficiency and consistency in your drug and alcohol policy
Written policies demonstrate professionalism as well as an interest in safety for all employees. And confidentiality is particularly important when administering a drug and alcohol program.
Written substance policies give teeth to enforcement of workplace rules and drug and alcohol policies provide a framework for accountability and for measuring worker performance.
“Employers are required to provide a safe place to work for all employees,” says Thoelecke, “and employees also have responsibilities to follow safety procedures.”
InOut Labs provides drug testing services that support the policies and procedures put into place by employers. As a national provider of both DOT and non-DOT drug testing services, InOut Labs provides employers with greater legal defensibility and access to industry best practices.
InOut Labs also provides employers with
About InOut Labs
InOut Labs is a recognized drug testing and background screening company that empowers employers and individuals to take control of their own health, safety and productivity by providing world-class drug testing and wellness testing services, while making the customer experience smooth and painless. Founded in 2012, InOut Labs offers more than 5000 tests, and your results are always confidential.
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