by Strategic HR Partners


by Strategic HR Partners

drug and alcohol policy

10 Tips for Your Business’ Alcohol and Drug Policy
When crafting your policy, here are 10 guidelines we suggest:

  1. Include clear rules for illegal drug and alcohol use and possession. It’s important to differentiate between legal and illegal drugs. Employers should pay special attention to state laws on medical marijuana.
  2. Address workplace possession and impairment resulting from legal drugs such as medical marijuana or prescription drugs.
  3. Address the use of prescription drugs for safety-sensitive positions. Fitness-for-duty certifications may be necessary, especially for safety-sensitive positions.
  4. Specifically define “impairment” and/or “under the influence” in your policy. The specifics of your policy also need to take into consideration that legal drug use — such as prescription painkillers — can cause impairment.
  5. Include the “direct threat” standard from the Americans with Disabilities Act. This legal standard may be the rationale for removing an employee from a safety-sensitive position, regardless of the cause of the impairment.
  6. Always put safety first, including adopting policies for getting an employee who is under the influence to their home. Consider administrative leave as an option while a fitness-for-duty evaluation is conducted, particularly if the employee is under the influence of legal drugs such as medical marijuana or prescription drugs.
  7. Develop clear and consistent consequences for policy violations.
  8. Address employees covered by federal laws such as the ADA and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  9. Use language that explains the concept of reasonable accommodations. Past drug addiction, for example, can be classified as a disability that may require reasonable accommodations such as leave for medical treatment. A current user of illegal drugs, however, is not disabled. An alcoholic — either using or in recovery — is disabled. That said, reasonable accommodations don’t include lowering performance standards, excusing misconduct, or tolerating absenteeism or tardiness.
  10. Intersect your policy with any drug- and alcohol-testing program you have in place.

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