Having a drug-free workplace means you have a workplace that is productive, that is efficient, and that you have more control over than you’d expect. It’s pretty common for employers to integrate drug testing policies within their companies. Most often, employees will also have to get a drug test before they actually get employed. However, at the same time, the employer needs to have a valid reason to suspect the employee of abusing drugs, thus allowing him to actually have a case for drug testing.
Now, in order to avoid any misunderstandings, complications, and ambiguousness, your company should hand out a good and clear drug policy. For this reason, we have written this article. It is there to support you, or your HR representative, in writing a proper policy that is unambiguous, clear, and useful.
Core Rules (in Writing)
First things first – you as an employer should write up a drug-free policy that will allow yourself and your employees with proper legal protection. Now, this legal document needs to be provided to each and every employee, as well as having several copies in your office at hand. Your employees also need to sign this policy, so as to confirm that they have indeed read and understood it.
Furthermore, the policy needs to contain many, if not all, of the following elements. Namely, it needs to have a statement of purpose, coverage, the exact scope of testing, as well as proper definitions of all the terms used in said policy.
It also needs to have a definition of all the illegal drugs noted in the policy, the substances people will be tested on, as well as the details that surround the right of an employee to take the test again. It also should outline how one can appeal the results, but also what happens if the employee has, in fact, been tested as positive.
Added details, like contact persons, consequences of testing refusal, and added info on clarifying both what happens before, after, and during the testing, the procedure can also be added.
Legalities of Pre-Employment Testing
You want these policies to obviously be completely legal. This means that you, as an employer, must offer each and every employee you intend to hire, or wish to hire, a pre-employment drug test. Testing an individual on drugs only after they have been hired is not only questionable legally, it is also deeply unfair, and a waste of both your and the employees time. You will be losing out on resources, money, and references.
If the test has indeed been positive, the employment procedure will be canceled, and you will be able to continue searching for somebody else.
Signs and Markers
Now, in order to have workplace drug testing executed properly and legally, you need to post signs and posters that state that this is a truly drug-free workplace. Have these placed in clear and pronounced places, places that clearly show where you stand on this issue, and a place where your employees can actually see it. They need to be put in a conspicuous place to ensure that all your people are clearly and fully aware of your company conducting drug testing procedures.
The Concept of Reasonable Suspicion
Next, your policy needs to detail how you will deal with reasonable suspicion. This should most likely include your definitions of what constitutes erratic and questionable behavior. How would signs of drug abuse affecting work performance be defined and presented? Is this affecting their work, the quality of their activities, or perhaps disrupting others? This then also needs to be defined as well.
Proper Substance Abuse Training
It’s pretty rare that every employee and staff member actually knows how to recognize signs of drug abuse, as well as recognizing that a person is actually working under the influence of drugs. This means that, if you want to keep the workplace drug free, you need to make an effort to get your people some training. Both you and your personnel need to be trained and taught how to recognize drug-addled behavior. These same courses and this same training might also help you recognize a problem and even help your employee if he or she truly gets into trouble.
Confidentiality and Fairness
Above all, you need to maintain confidentiality and fairness in your company. Only those who need to know will know whether a potential employee has been refused due to failing a drug test. Drug test findings and test results need to be locked down, and only approved personnel will receive access to this data.
As far as fairness is concerned, work hard on removing your unconscious biases. Furthermore, every single member needs to be tested. This means the newest low-level employee, and your entire board of directors – no exceptions.
Drug testing and drug policy are common items of any business today. Their main and most important factor when it comes to policies like these is that they need to be clear and unambiguous. This, then, means that you should give your all to keep it all clear and clean, to minimize any and all ambiguities that could be contained within them. So, outline precisely what do you mean by reasonable suspicion, detail how random testing will be conducted, as well as have these, and many other details, outlined in a policy that will be handed out and signed by your employees.