A lot of companies all over the country have already imposed strict policies against drug and substance abuse in the workplace. This policy includes the implementation of drug screening examinations on employees, which can be done randomly or prior to hiring. Doing so saves companies from the risks and potential damages that a drug abuser may inflict on them, their co-workers, the clients, and the entire business.
To ensure that the drug-free workplace policy is implemented accordingly, employers will need to coordinate with the team who is directly responsible for the welfare of their employees — the human resources. This department will be tasked to interpret the policy for current and future employees as well as to enforce it accordingly. However, there is still more to learn regarding the HR’s role in drug testing:
Marijuana remains to be illegal.
The issue on drug testing still remains to be complicated because according to the Federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is still a schedule 1 drug, and thus, illegal. However, certain state laws tell otherwise. With this, it is important for employers to consider the state laws of their location when coming up with their drug-free workplace policy. It is important to consult first with an HR or an attorney to clarify your limitations in terms of drug testing candidates or employees to avoid any legal issue.
The policy should be clearly defined.
It is best for employers to review their drug testing policy and to make sure that it is written in a clear and concise manner. It should state who gets to be screened and under when and in what circumstances. Furthermore, the drug testing procedures, as well as disciplinary methods, should be clearly specified.
With regard to the frequency of testing, employers have different options when to implement drug screening procedures. In the case of a pre-employment testing, employers may have to also test the same candidate after the employment offer has been made to promote consistency. Meanwhile, a random drug testing could be done unannounced every year, with candidates are randomly chosen by a computer software. A post-accident testing is necessary for the event of a fatality or injury and must be done within 32 hours post-accident. And for new recruits, it may be required to conduct pre-employment drug testing only after an offer has been made. Of course, consult with your HR to know if your chosen policy adheres to state laws in your location.
Educate your managers and employees.
As employers, communication to their employees is essential to successfully integrate a drug-free policy in the workplace. To raise awareness, they can distribute copies of their policy to each employee or conduct a meeting to further discuss the rules. This can be a good opportunity to gather insight and answer queries from employees themselves. In this case, the HR may allow a 30-day minimum interval between policy implementation and enforcement after checking with state laws involved. Employers may have to make the consequences clear in their policy in case of a failed drug test. A zero tolerance policy is permitted in some state while assistance programs may be encouraged in others.
Drug abuse in the workplace is a serious issue that has to be dealt with through a comprehensive policy and a competent HR team to help you implement it.