Need help/suggestions on Drug/Alcohol policy

I'm trying to develop a Drug/Alcohol Policy, and am using several policy "go-by's" (including HR Hero) to help develop our policy. As a federal contractor, I'm required to comply with the Drug Free Workplace Act. The act specifically does not require testing. I'd prefer to avoid testing, but it looks very difficult to do so. Hence, my first question:

1. Does anyone have a drug/alcohol policy WITHOUT drug testing?

Since current illegal drug use is not a disability, as defined by the ADA, termination can be a legal option. For alcohol, I'm confused at what is grounds for termination, and what is not.

2. When is an alcohol-related event NOT an ADA disability, and something we can safely terminate?

3. What alcohol-related events can be terminable offense?

Any words of wisdom here are definitely appreciated!

HR Hat


  • 2 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I have dealt with alcohol abuse at previous companies, and the legal advice I was given is that being under the influence or consuming alcohol on the job is a terminable offense. The ADA protects a recovering alcoholic from discrimination because we have knowledge of his past, may require accomodation in time off to attend meetings or even absence from work for occasional lapses (within reason), but does not protect being intoxicated on the job.

    In one case, after numerous complaints from other workers and an ultimate admission that he had a problem, we required one employee to sign an agreement that if any supervisor/manager suspected he was under the influence at any time, he would be sent for drug testing. A positive test would result in termination. I'm not familiar with your regulations, but even if they prohibit random drug testing, they may permit testing upon reasonable suspicion.

    This is the policy at my present company, which was written by attorney and I think is pretty comprehensive:

    "Drug/Alcohol Free Workplace

    To help insure a safe, healthy, and productive work environment for our employees and others, to protect XXXs property, and to insure efficient operations, XXX has adopted a policy of maintaining a workplace free of drugs and alcohol. This policy applies to all employees and other individuals performing work for XXX.

    The unlawful or unauthorized use, abuse, solicitation, theft, possession, transfer, purchase, sale or distribution of controlled substances, drug paraphernalia or alcohol by an individual anywhere on XXX’s premises, while on XXX business or while representing XXX is strictly prohibited. Of course, this does not include the responsible and legal consumption of alcohol-containing beverages at XXX-sponsored events.

    Employees and other individuals working for XXX also are prohibited from reporting to work or working under the influence of any controlled substances, except when the use is pursuant to a licensed medical practitioner's instructions.

    XXX maintains a policy of non-discrimination and will endeavor to make reasonable accommodations to assist recovering addicts and alcoholics, and those having a medical history reflecting treatment for substance abuse conditions. We encourage employees to seek assistance before their drug abuse or alcohol misuse renders them unable to perform their essential job functions or jeopardizes the health and safety of themselves, or others.

    XXX will attempt to assist its employees through referrals to counseling, appropriate leaves of absence and other measures, to the extent that these measures do not impose an undue hardship upon XXX or jeopardize the health and safety of the employee, co-workers, our clients or the public.

    With the help of every employee and supervisor, XXX believes that a Drug and Alcohol Free Workplace can be maintained and benefit all concerned in our day-to-day operations.

    Random drug testing may be required of an employee if XXX has reasonable suspicion based on an observation of possession of a drug, use of drugs, abnormal behavior, a drug related investigation or an arrest or conviction."

    Hope this helps.
  • Thank you for your response. Yes, it helps a lot!

    I may be suffering from too much info (multiple drug policies, state and federal legal requirements, etc.)

    Thanks again!

    HR Hat