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Corporate Drug and Alcohol Test Policy: Part Two – Implementation

By: Douglas E. Plocki, Esq.

Putting a corporate drug and alcohol testing policy in place takes a few careful steps to permit regular enforcement.  Like any policy, the company’s drug and alcohol policy should be given in writing to all employees.  The employees should sign a written acknowledgment that they have received and understood the policy, and a consent form.  The company may wish to make execution of the consent form a condition of being hired and/or continued employment.

The company should also hold a mandatory staff meeting to introduce and explain the policy and answer any employee questions.  The company should consider training its managers and senior officers to observe and manage suspected drug or alcohol abuse.

Actual testing should be performed by an accredited testing agency.  Outsourcing this function to a qualified entity will help ensure consistent, accurate testing, and will help insulate the company from claims of improper or unfair testing methods. The current U.S. Department of Health and Human Services certified testing lab in Virginia is Kroll Laboratory Specialists, Inc. in Richmond, Virginia ((804)-378-9130).

We recommend that the company also offer information to employees regarding possible drug and alcohol treatment sources.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services publishes a treatment facility locator that provides contact information for substance abuse treatment programs by state and city at http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov.  There are several hundred drug and alcohol treatment centers located in Northern Virginia and the Greater Washington DC area. 

Finally, a company may wish to consider adding an Employee Assistance Program (“EAP”) along with its new drug and alcohol testing policy.  Such programs generally assist employees and family members with substance abuse, mental health and other problems that affect their job performance.

Once your drug and alcohol test policy is drafted and implemented, it must be consistently enforced.  Companies that fail to enforce their own policy in certain cases may be later precluded from trying to do so.  In addition, disparate treatment could lead to wrongful termination and related litigation.  The company should appoint a single officer responsible for managing the policy.  A well-written policy will guide that officer in his or her enforcement duties, providing a step-by-step procedure in the event of a violation.   The company should maintain accurate records of all testing under the policy in confidential form.

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GarbiaPlocki, LLP is a law firm of dedicated professionals specializing in helping businesses grow. We offer corporate development, governance, and policy planning and implementation services to help companies build for the future, and commercial litigation services to protect that growth. Our lawyers are licensed in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you.