Soteria Screening


The Importance of a Well-Written Drug Policy

In order to have a successful drug-free program in the workplace, a company must have a well-written and comprehensive drug policy in place. The policy cannot be something that is just thought up overnight and then put into place. Typically, an effective policy is discussed many times in order to get the wording just right before it is put on public display and followed as company law.

A drug policy is not something you can just come up with after looking up a template online either. Every company is different, and so too should be its drug policy. The drug policy should cover what is important to that particular company, as well as how that company will be addressing issues of a certain nature going forward. While some companies may want to be more lackadaisical on, say, marijuana usage, other companies would rather rule with more of an iron fist, no matter what drug its employees choose to use.

Additionally, while policies should differ, in most cases they must differ from the policies of other companies simply because the laws in each particular state may handle certain drugs differently. While some laws may be voluntary in one state, they are mandatory in another, so it is important to do your research as well before drafting up a policy.

Some states, like Michigan, do not have mandatory or voluntary laws. Instead, they require that drug tests be administered non-discriminatorily and "in accordance with a written policy" in order for the test to be properly considered with the submission of a claim.

However, while each company's policy should be different, there are some elements that most of the effective policies have in common. Those elements are:

• An explanation as to why the company chooses to participate in drug testing, such as complying with the requirements of the federal government or an insurance carrier, and/or to improve the overall levels of safety and productivity in the workplace. providing an explanation will encourage employees to understand how the program can benefit everyone in the workplace and that it is not meant to "target" anyone at all.

• It is a requirement in almost every state that a drug policy list who exactly is covered by the policy, including both current employees and those who are applying to work for the company. Perhaps you want to create a drug policy that applies to safety-sensitive employees only, or maybe you want it to apply to both full- and part-time workers. Whatever the preference, make sure it's in your policy.

• Every policy has a section that explains what happens when a test result is positive, and that a positive result is a straight up violation of company policy. Employees should also be made aware of the kinds of behaviors that will raise suspicion and possibly result in their being tested for drugs, such as excessive tardiness or absences, or a sudden change in behavior and/or appearance.

• Typically, the policy will cover what kinds of drugs tests will be administered (e.g. pre-employment, reasonable suspicion, random, etc.), as well as what kind of drug tests will be administered later on, should the employer choose to give someone with a positive result a second chance.