What would you recommend?

What would you recommend for the following scenario?

 A construction company has a crew of six on-site installation technicians who are responsible for installing mechanical equipement.  Recently one of the six quit complaining about working to much and personality conflicts with his foreman.  Later this same employee calls the office and accuses 3 of the remaining technicians of drug and alcohol abuse while on the job sites.  This of course would create a major safety issue considering the equipment they work with.  There are no other indications of substance abuse on the jobsite by any of the technicians.  There has not been a noticable drop in productivity, safety, or customer satisfaction.  It is possible that this is an attempt at retaliation against the remaining technicians from the ex-employee.  However, the company doesn't want to take a chance.  There is no substance abuse policy in place or enforced.  The company is afraid that if they send the 3 technicians to take a drug test, then it will appear as if they are singling them out.  They are also afraid that the tests might come back positive.  They can not afford to lose these 3 techs during the busiest time of the season.

Do they have sufficient cause to suspect substance abuse? Enough to require a drug screen, even without a set policy?



  • 2 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • I would at least do a basic investigation to protect you later should there be a WC claim or any other type of negligence lawsuit.  If you totally ignore it, then that could possibly be considered negligence in the future.

    Is the foreman one of the 3 accused?  If not, he would be the person I would start with.

    I would also consider doing a few "drop in" visits on site within the next few weeks to see how they react.  You might also consider writing up a basic drug policy to protect the company, even if you don't currently use it. Check with your insurance broker/WC carrier to see what templates they have for your state.  That way, if you do run across an employee who is using drugs/alcohol on the jobsite, you have the policy to back up any discipline and the employee can not claim they didn't know you had a policy.

    I do not think I would go as far as drug testing unless either the foreman or those who visit see some type of issue.  That is, unless you want to start a drug testing program.  Which honestly, I do understand not being able to have one. 

  • Alternatively, test all 6 and the foreman.  Your biggest concern will be unemployment rather than any sense of anybody being singled out.


    Whatever else you do, get your drug free workplace policy published and include the policy stating the company can test for reasonable suspicion and post-accident.  Consider having a vendor implement a random plan for you if you thing there may be a problem in the future.

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