Drug-free workplace agreements are contracts that outline your company’s policies regarding the use of illegal drugs, drugs and alcohol, and the abuse of over-the-counter or prescription medications, and allow your business to conduct random employee drug tests to ensure compliance. These agreements are becoming increasingly common in workplaces of all kinds, from small businesses to large corporations.
The underlying primary purpose of a drug-free workplace agreement is to promote and ensure safety in the workplace, which also positively affects productivity, morale, and an overall positive organizational impact. In addition, because it includes an expectation of personal and organizational accountability and responsibility, it can help build a strong organizational culture.
The key elements of an effective drug-free workplace agreement are:
- A clear definition of what is considered to be a “drug.” This should include both illegal drugs, alcohol, over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs that can impair an employee’s ability to perform their job safely.
- A statement of the employer’s commitment to maintaining a drug-free workplace, including the reasons for implementing a drug-free workplace policy.
- A description of the consequences for violating the terms of the agreement. This may include termination of employment, suspension without pay, or mandatory drug treatment programs.
- A description of the drug testing procedures to be used to monitor and enforce the policy. This should include information on the types of tests that to be conducted, the frequency of testing, and the consequences for refusing to submit to a drug test.
- A statement of the employee’s rights, including the right to privacy and the right to appeal any disciplinary action taken, as a result of a positive drug test.
- A description of any employee assistance programs that are available to help employees who are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction.
Drug-free workplace agreements must comply with federal, state and local laws. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees who are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, as long as they are able to perform their job duties safely and effectively. State and local laws may add further protection for workers that are not provided for in the federal laws. Therefore, it is important to have your Private Corporate Counsel draft your agreement, or update the one you have been using.
In addition to complying with legal requirements, companies should also take steps to ensure that their drug-free workplace policies are effective. This should include providing education and training to workers about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, as well as creating a supportive workplace culture that encourages workers to seek help if they are struggling with addiction.
Finally, companies should also ensure that their drug-free workplace policies are regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in the law and the needs of the business. This may include revising drug-testing procedures, updating employee training materials, and incorporating new policies and procedures as necessary.