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 forthcoming amendment regarding alcohol testing law.
Opioid abuse has reached epidemic proportions with increased loss of life from overdoses and more than $18 billion a year in lost productivity and medical expenses for employers. XpertHR offers many tools and resources to help an employer take steps to prevent drug use and drug-related problems at their workplace and help employees who are suffering from addiction.
Updated to include retaliation protections under the forthcoming Austin paid sick leave law.
Updated to include forthcoming Vermont recreational marijuana law.
Updated to include retaliation protections in the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, effective February 11, 2018.
Updated to reflect retaliation protections in the Minneapolis minimum wage ordinance; and the applicability of retaliation protections under the St. Paul earned sick and safe time law, effective January 1, 2018.
Updated to include retaliation protections in the domestic violence leave law, effective January 1, 2018.
Updated to include retaliation protections with respect to child-bonding leave and whistleblowing at health facilities; and amendments to retaliation civil and administrative procedures, effective January 1, 2018.
HR guidance on the legal risks of substance abuse.