Regardless of your workplace, you want your employees to be drug-free. Why? Well, because you want them to be capable, reliable and always present to face the task that they’re currently doing. Aside from this, drug abuse is an illegal activity in most parts of the world, which means that it’s your duty as a citizen and organization to discover potential wrongdoers in your enterprise so that you can alert authorities. Discovery of drug abuse at work or even coming into the workplace under the influence can be a completely legitimate grounds for termination of employment. So, with that in mind and without further ado, here are several things you need to know about your drug policy at the workplace.
The dangers of drug abuse in the workplace
There are so many reasons why drug abuse in the workplace is dangerous, some of which we’ve already mentioned in the introduction. First of all, there’s a lack of focus, as well as tardiness in the workplace. You see, drug abuse is not just a habit, it’s a lifestyle. Therefore, even the drugs that are, in theory, supposed to keep your employees up, might eventually wear them out. Then, there’s poor decision making, seeing as how drugs may cloud one’s judgment and hamper with their ability to think straight. Finally, more often than not, a drug addict in your employ will resort to employee theft in order to support their habit.
The basics of setting a drug policy law
The next thing you need to understand about the drug policy in the workplace is the fact that you need to ensure that it’s made in agreement with the federal law. In some states, pre-employment drug testing is often practiced. However, you can’t test potential candidates. You can only test those that you have offered a job to. If they pass, they have the job and if they fail, you can avoid hiring them. Naturally, it’s the right of an employer to prohibit the use of drugs or alcohol in the workplace and, if you notice one abusing substances in the workplace, you’re in your full right to fire them.
The simplest way to ensure that all of this is done according to the law is to outsource this drug testing task to someone else. You will also need some basic drug-testing supplies and Oz Drug Testing has all the necessary tools, kits, and analytics to help you conduct this. This includes methods like saliva, urine and breath testing, which gives you a chance to immediately check their status, without having to wait for lengthy and complex analysis processes. Naturally, these are not 100 percent reliable, even though they represent a great immediate response to this scenario.
You need to ensure that it’s unbiased
The first thing you need to understand is the fact that you either prescribe random drug testing or have an adequate cause to conduct one. Otherwise, you might get accused of bias or even discrimination in the workplace. Put a supervisor in charge and tell them to look for some clear symptoms of substance abuse. Ideally, you would have one of the employees directly witness and report the use of drugs or alcohol. Upon reporting, you should conduct a test, just to avoid any suspicion. You don’t want to take anyone’s words at face value or take one side against the other.
Other than this, you can also look for symptoms like erratic or unsafe behavior, especially in areas or situations where it’s in their best interest to be calm and focused. Absenteeism or tardiness are other warning signs that can be quite indicative of a potential problem. A drop in workplace performance due to the lack of motivation nor focus is also something to look out for. Needless to say, there are also some physical signs of drug use like strong odor, dilated pupils, problems with keeping balance, etc.
The post-offer testing
Previously, we’ve mentioned the fact that your employees may be tested only after you make an offer, however, in order to do this in a legal manner, you need to extend this testing to all the employees who were previously hired for a same or similar positions. This is true especially for those who were hired before you put this requirement into action. Also, you need to keep in mind that drugs aren’t the only substance that qualifies here and that you’re in your full legal right to ban alcohol abuse, as well.
Now, one of the trickiest parts about setting a proper drug policy is the one regarding the off-the-job use. Depending on the state, you have various answers to this question. First of all, in states where marijuana is legal, banning the off-the-job use might not be a legal option. The same thing goes for alcohol abuse. Seeing as how the majority of states are currently changing their stance on marijuana, it might not be long until testing for it becomes illegal. In states such as Maine, this is already the case.
You might not have a choice
Due to the fact that we’ve already mentioned that drug abuse may lead to a series of mistakes and accidents, you, as a business owner, might be liable for negligent hiring, if you fail to organize this policy and conduct proper testing. Remember that employees under the influence of drugs aren’t just hazardous for themselves but for those around them, as well. The biggest question that we’re facing here, however, is which drugs you should test for, in this day and age.
Keeping your workplace drug-free is a matter of safety, ethics, and law. Therefore, it’s your personal responsibility as an employer to tend to this matter. As we’ve already mentioned, sometimes you don’t even have a choice. This includes knowing all the hazards that can be caused by this issue so that you will never feel tempted to underestimate it. Keep in mind that this is a serious matter and, as such, it deserves your full attention.