What is a Drug Free Workplace?
A Drug-Free Workplace is when all employees adhere to a program of policies and activities promoting a safe Workplace. It is specifically designed to discourage alcohol and drug abuse and encourage treatment, recovery and the return to work of those employees with such abuse problems.
A comprehensive drug-free workplace strategy offers significant opportunities to reduce operating costs, largely because the cost of not maintaining a drug-free workplace is often grossly underestimated. For example, one employee experiencing drug abuse problems will reduce productivity by more than 30% and, on average, cost their employer at least $7,000 per year.
In addition, you will also save money due to lower worker’s compensation claims, since a drug using employee is five times more likely to file a claim during their employment. And, you’ll reduce loss and shrinkage, considering that 80% of drug users steal from their workplace to support their habits.
Screening out just one potential employee who could have brought drugs into the workplace, or providing employee assistance services that keep one existing employee from becoming entangled in drug abuse, can save you thousands of dollars, reduce your exposure to even more costly accidents, and improve employee engagement as well.
Can I drug test an employee without a policy in place?
It would not be advisable to test your employees without a policy in place due to the possibility of civil litigation that may stem from discrimination or unfair employee practices. A drug and alcohol policy is the backbone of your drug-free workplace program and provides a guide to handling drug and alcohol testing in your company.
If I have a zero tolerance drug and alcohol policy, can I terminate one employee with a positive drug test result and keep another employee who tested positive as well?
No, even though Georgia is an “employment at will” state, the chances for civil litigation increase with inconsistency in a drug-free workplace program.
Is an Employer able to drug-test an applicant prior to employment?
Yes. Urine drug testing is one of the most popular methods for pre-employment and random drug testing for recent drug use, as they are easy to use and provide fast, accurate, and economical results.
What is a Last Chance Agreement?
If your company does not have a zero tolerance policy, an employee who tests positive on a drug test may qualify for a last chance to stay employed at your company. A Last Chance Agreement is a document signed by the employee that explains your company has a progressive policy and the employee is allowed to keep his/her current job if they meet certain criteria outlined in the Last Chance Agreement.
Do we have to test all of our current employees when we implement the Drug-Free Workplace Program?
Not necessarily; current employees can be grandfathered into the policy. Once the 60-day notice or implementing a Drug-Free Workplace has expired, the employee could be tested under other circumstances (random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, pre-employment, or return-to-duty.)
What is the difference between a reasonable suspicion drug test and a random drug test?
A reasonable suspicion drug test takes place when a manager or supervisor believes a person may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while on duty. An employee may have certain physical symptoms such as facial flushing, watery or red eyes to changes in conduct, such as a change in demeanor or exhibiting aggressive behavior.
A random drug test is a truly random process. If your company elects to conduct random testing, all employees’ names are entered into a computer software system specifically created for a random drug testing program. The software will randomly generate a percentage of employees to be tested according to a timetable selected by your company.
An employee should not be chosen by management to be tested without probable cause or without being selected by a truly random process.
Is it possible to cheat the iCup drug screen by substituting or adulterating the specimen?
No. The iCup A.D. contains a specimen validity test or SVT strip that verifies the validity of a specimen. The SVT strip checks for oxidants, specific gravity and pH in the specimen. For example, if someone tries to substitute water for urine, the specific gravity indicator will show an abnormal reading.