Would you know exactly what to do if one of your employees had a drug screening and it came back positive? Do you immediately fire them? Do you offer them assistance through the company? What happens, exactly?
If you don’t know, that’s a problem. In delicate situations such as drug screenings, if the matter is handled incorrectly—meaning, not according to an established drug-free workplace policy—a company could be sued by the employee and potentially lose money, time, and reputation.
Why Is Having A Written Policy So Important?
By having a written drug-free workplace policy that outlines everything to do with your drug testing program, you’re putting an established set of rules in front of everyone’s eyes that is both clear and official. Without a written drug-free workplace policy, you’re exposing your business to liability.
Maybe your company doesn’t currently have a written drug-free workplace policy, and you also don’t quite know where to begin when creating one. Below are some good points to include to help you start.
Your written drug-free workplace policy should:
- State the policy’s purpose and goal
- State under whose authority the policy is written
- State who is covered by the policy
- State when the policy applies
- State what behaviors are prohibited
- State if drug testing is included and if so, under what circumstances
- State the consequences for violation of the policy
- State how the policy is distributed
- State what kind of employee assistance is available
- State how the employee is confidentially protected
- State who is responsible for overseeing and enforcing the policy
- State employee communication and disclosure information
This is just the beginning. If your company needs to be DOT compliant, there are more requirements that should be involved in your written policy. However, DOT regulations don’t address hiring, termination, or other employment actions. These decisions are the employer’s—which means you will definitely want that written policy to protect you.
Protect Your Company
Every year, hundreds of lawsuits are filed over drug test results that have been administered by employers. With all the false positives and over-the-counter medications that can cause a test to get an employee in trouble, companies shouldn’t take any chance when it comes to protecting themselves against these lawsuits. Even if an employee is guilty of taking illegal drugs, they still sometimes sue their employer. While the employee most likely won’t win, it may become expensive for a company to pay a lawyer.
Companies that use random drug testing especially should have a written drug-free workplace policy. Because situations can become so sensitive with random drug testing, having that set of established rules could end up being a great help if an employee decides to sue because they feel singled out or unfairly tested.
It’s crucial to have an effective, clear written policy in place that will protect your company. New Era Drug Testing is a DOT drug testing company which provides programs and solutions for companies that need to be DOT-compliant, including truck lines, limo services, cruises, and more. If you have any questions about drug-free workplace policies, please contact us.