Drug Free Workplace Policy

Our Drug Free Workplace Policy states that if an employee is drug tested for reasonable suspicion then immediately after the drug test, the employee is suspended for 5 days with or without pay (at the discretion of the Executive Director). My question is if the drug test comes back negative, shouldn't the company reimburse the employee for the 5 days or, should we just take out the section that states with or without pay to alleviate any inconsistencies that may occur in future situations of reasonable suspicion. After doing some research, I also discovered that in the past 3 years we have had 4 instances of reasonable suspicion and never once was an employee suspended, and they all came back positive. Having said this, should we just remove the suspension section in its entirety since it has not been used consistently? Is there a valid reason to suspend employees after taking a drug test? The policy does not go into detail regarding the suspension issue.


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  • You need to check the version of this Act passed by the states in which you do business to insure that you are not required to suspend. I do not believe you have to suspend and would discourage you from doing so for the exact issue that you raise. If he/she tests negative, the company should pay the employee (from an employee relations standpoint) for the time lost through no fault of the employee. Most companies will return the employee to work the following day and await the drug test results before determining what to do.

    Three suggestions, be sure that when you "for cause" test that you do a blood stick as well as a urine test to test for alcohol. A urine test will not be accurate for this. Amend your policy to permit this. Second, if you believe someone is under the influence, do not let him/her drive to the test site. If you're concerned about him/her working, don't let them get in the car. Have a supervisor drive them to the test site. When they return, ask who you may call to come pick them up. If the answer is no one, pay for a taxi to drive them home. If they refuse, try to persude them to remain in the breakroom until they appear capable of driving. You cannot force them to stay, but try to persuade them. Leave them on the clock and pay for their time to sober up. Third, how are you determining when signs are sufficient to do a "for cause" test? If only the supervisor determines this, you may open yourself to liability if there's no check and balance. I would recommend that you require the supervisor to call a higher member of management or human resources and describe the symptoms the supervisor is observing. Document that as justification for the testing.

    Hope this helps.

    Margaret Morford
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