New year a good time to review, create drug policy

Do you wish you had a drug screening policy in place for all current employees and new hires? Every employer should have a drug policy in place to protect one’s business assets, reputation and employees. The new year is a great time to put one in place, or to change the parameters of your current drug policy to include rules, regulations and processes you currently don’t have but need.

First and foremost, a drug policy should spell out the various circumstances that would warrant the use of drug testing. Typically, there are four such circumstances:

  1. Job applicants. This doesn’t mean you conduct drug testing on every single applicant, but it does ensure that prospective employees understand and agree to a drug screening as a condition of employment.
  2. Random employee drug screening. While employers need not use this as a “surprise” tactic, it is perfectly acceptable to let employees know they could be subject to random drug testing during their time of employment with you.
  3. Post accident. If you are suspicious about the circumstances surrounding a workplace accident, you want to have a policy in place that allows for drug testing of everyone involved, in order to clear you and your company of legal responsibility.
  4. Reasonable suspicion. If you suspect an individual or a few employees of using illegal drugs or alcohol on the job, you needn’t test everyone just to “keep things fair.” Your drug policy should allow for the special circumstances for which you can selectively control who is tested.

Another thing to carefully consider is what types of disciplinary action will be taken against employees who are found to be in violation of your drug policy. Is one failed drug test cause for immediate termination? Will you have assist the employee in entering a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program? Do you want guidelines for a probationary period for those employees who fail a test but stay on the payroll? These are all questions whose answers need to be spelled out for all to see, and every employee should be asked to read over and sign a copy of the policy immediately.

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Kristina Taylor
In 1989, Kristina began her career as a customer service representative at the newly formed American Tenant Screen, Inc. Ten years later, she pioneered tenant background screening on the Internet. As a long-standing member of the National Multifamily Resident Information Council (formerly the National Association of Screening Agencies) Kristina gains insight into the trends of the tenant screening industry to better understand the current and future needs of their clients.

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