EMPLOYEE HANDBOOKS ARE CRITICAL TO PREVENT SUCCESSFUL EMPLOYEE LAWSUITS (PART 7 – Drug Policy)

This is the seventh article in a series explaining how Employee Handbooks play a critical role in preventing successful lawsuits. This post focuses on information on the need to include a Drug & Alcohol when writing an Employee Handbook.

Drug & Alcohol Policy

Most often, full policies on drug and alcohol testing are not set forth in Usually, only a summary of these policies is included.

If such a policy is summarized, the following should be included:

  • Who is subject to testing–all applicants, all employees or both, or even management.
  • What is prohibited–the use, possession, sale and/or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on company property and/or while) on company business.
  • When testing will be conducted-following an accident or “near miss,” based upon reasonable suspicion, on a random basis, and/or as a follow up to completion of a treatment program.
  • How the testing will be administered.
  • What the consequences will be for refusing to be tested-­ generally discharge or being considered to have tested positive.
  • Whether referral for rehabilitation will be made, and what the consequences will be for failure to complete the rehabilitation program.
  • That company desks, lockers and employee lunch boxes, etc. may be searched at any time and that employees should have no expectation of privacy.

In Utah, there is a drug testing statute that can insulate an employer from most liability for drug testing, if the employer’s written drug testing policy and practice implements the statute. To be effective, the policy must include testing management, not just employees.  See Utah Code Ann. § § 34-38-1 through 34-38-15.

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