Substance Abuse

Editor's Note: Effectively and compassionately address instances of substance abuse in the workplace.

Marta MoakleyOverview: Substance abuse in the workplace may lead to an increase in avoidable on-the-job accidents, decreased productivity and potential negligent retention/supervision court claims. However, employers need to understand their legal rights and responsibilities under federal, state and local law with respect to employee drug testing and discipline.

Employers must ensure that their employee discipline policies and procedures allow for flexibility in addressing substance abuse problems in the workplace. Although an employer may choose to terminate an employee who has been found to possess illegal drugs on business premises, the option to provide the employee with a firm choice or last chance agreement in lieu of termination (requiring that the employee seek rehabilitative services) may prove a more appropriate response.

Trends: Case and criminal law continues to evolve in states with marijuana protections. Although most laws do not protect employees who are under the influence of marijuana while on-duty, employers continue to grapple with the optimal method to address marijuana use, whether on- or off-duty.

Author: Marta Moakley, JD, Legal Editor

Latest items in Substance Abuse

  • Michigan Medical Marijuana Users Entitled to Unemployment Benefits: Employment Law Manual Updated

    Date:
    02 March 2015
    Type:
    Editor's Choice

    Michigan employees who use medical marijuana may be eligible to collect unemployment benefits.

  • Employee Discipline: California

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of California employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employee discipline.

  • Medical Marijuana in Michigan: Appeals Court Rules on Employee Eligibility for Unemployment Benefits

    Date:
    24 February 2015
    Type:
    News

    The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that individuals who are state-approved medical marijuana users under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) should remain eligible to receive unemployment benefits under the Michigan Employment Security Act. The appeals court based its decision in Braska v. Challenge Manufacturing Co. on the fact that the provision of unemployment benefits constitutes state action.

  • Employee Discipline: Michigan

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Michigan employment law requirements HR must follow in respect to employee discipline.

  • Employee Discipline: Illinois

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Illinois employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employee discipline.

  • Employee Discipline: New Jersey

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of New Jersey employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to Employee Discipline

  • Employee Discipline: Tennessee

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Tennessee employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employee discipline.

  • Employee Discipline: Minnesota

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Minnesota employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employee discipline.

  • Recreational Marijuana Use Legalized in Oregon, Alaska and DC

    Date:
    18 November 2014
    Type:
    News

    Voters in Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia affirmed ballot measures earlier this month to legalize recreational marijuana use in small amounts. However, none of these laws will prevent employers from maintaining a drug-free workplace policy.

  • Employee Discipline: Kentucky

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of Kentucky employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to employee discipline.