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Drug-Free Workplace Policy

Author: Deborah S. Hildebrand

When to Use

A drug-free workplace policy is the cornerstone of any drug-free workplace program. Most employers are not required by law to create a policy unless they do business with the federal government and certain state or local governments. Some federal contractors, and all employers that receive federal grants, must comply with the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, which requires them to maintain a drug-free workplace.

However, many employers that are not required by law to have a drug-free workplace policy create one anyway, to help reduce drug use and drug-related problems in the workplace. By implementing and training employees on such a policy, employers may be able to ensure workplace safety, worker health, and productivity. A written and published policy may be required for insurance purposes and may be useful in defending against potential lawsuits or for evidence in disciplinary proceedings. There may also be a monetary incentive to having a drug-free workplace policy: many states give employers discounts on workers' compensations premiums for employers that have a drug-free workplace program in place.

Communicate this policy to employees at the commencement of employment and at least annually thereafter. Make sure that employees sign and acknowledge that they have received and understand the policy. Ensure that a copy of the acknowledgement is kept in each employee's personnel file. Refer to the policy whenever there is a concern that an employee might have a substance abuse problem.