Overview: 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
Updated to include retaliation protections in the forthcoming state paid leave law.
Updated to reflect retaliation protections in the forthcoming state wage theft law.
Updated to reflect forthcoming amendments to the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act.
Updated to include information on the forthcoming amendments expanding protections for jurors.
Updated to reflect forthcoming amendments under the Smoking in Public Places and Indoor Workplaces Act and the Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act.
Updated to reflect amendment relating to positive confirmed drug test results, effective May 10, 2019.
Updated to reflect termination provisions in forthcoming amendments to law regarding restrictive covenants.
Updated to include law restricting the use of microchip implantation.
HR guidance on the legal risks of substance abuse.