Company drug testing strategies run the gamut from highly effective to completely inadequate and everything in between. Doing drug testing alone is not a guarantee that you will be protected from the many costly risks of an impaired workforce. Behind every successful drug testing regimen is a well-crafted drug and alcohol policy that guides all efforts at prevention, identification, and response. The following is a brief review of the important elements of a corporate drug policy.
The first element in a sound drug policy is a statement of purpose that clearly delineates your reasons for drug testing. Detailing your purpose and what you want to achieve helps your employees understand your policy and its goals. Your statement of purpose should also clearly communicate your overall stance on drug and alcohol abuse.
Your policy should define what drugs you test for, what testing method you will use, and what cutoff concentrations will be set for testing.
In the coverage section of your policy, you should carefully define which positions in the company are subject to drug testing. This may include the following:
All new hires. Pre-employment drug screens catch many problems before they occur.
Position specific requirements. It may be the case that certain positions within your organization require drug testing, or more rigorous drug testing, than other positions. For example, drivers or operators of heavy machinery may be subject to stiffer drug testing requirements than bookkeepers of clerical staff.
Random testing. Many companies have random drug testing policies. Selection methods, timing, and consequences for positive tests should be carefully spelled out.
Reasonable suspicion. Employees who demonstrate reasonable symptoms of drug or alcohol use while on the job can be singled out for testing. You may want to define an example here if what types of behaviors constitute reasonable suspicion. Managers and supervisors need to be carefully trained on how to recognize these symptoms and responsibly instigate the testing process.
Your policy may include requiring a drug test following any workplace accident.
Prohibited conduct. Your drug testing policy can include a section that explains that certain behaviors will trigger drug testing and other adverse employment actions.
It’s important to specifically define the consequences employees face in the event that they violate the drug and alcohol policy. Consequences can include disciplinary actions, suspension, termination, and even criminal charges. Clear expectations and ramifications make your policy easy to understand and follow.
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Communication and Training
Everyone in your organization needs to be aware of your drug policy. Communicating expectations clearly to all employees goes a long way towards encouraging compliance. Pay careful attention to training supervisors on recognizing the signs of drug or alcohol use and on how to handle situations in a thorough, safe, and confidential manner that respects the employee and the company.