Alcohol or drug use

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Updated: 4/11/2007 11:26 am
Employers recognize that substance abuse in the workplace can often lead to absenteeism, tardiness, sick leave, increased safety risks, and overall lower productivity. As a result, in an effort to ensure a safe and responsible work environment, many establish a written disciplinary policy towards alcohol and drug use. An alcohol and drug policy typically includes a comprehensive description of prohibited behavior, a notice of the penalties for violating the policy, and options for rehabilitation and recovery. Employees are also notified of the substances covered and the means used to monitor compliance. Usually, employers look for visible signs like impaired performance, erratic behavior, or slurred speech when approaching an employee who's suspected of substance abuse. Sometimes, companies may administer drug tests, especially if the work that's being done is high risk or dangerous. Drug tests may be performed either at the time of hire, during employment, or both. Employers may also conduct random drug tests without prior notice to ensure the accuracy of the results. However, many state and federal courts have ruled that random testing programs in public workplaces must be based on individualized suspicion. Furthermore, the employee's identity and test results should remain confidential. If you test positive to a drug or alcohol test or violate any terms of your company's drug and alcohol use policy, employers may take remedial action by requiring that you undergo mandatory substance abuse counseling. You may also be subject to suspension or termination. Furthermore, remember that most states deny unemployment and workers' compensation benefits to employees who are discharged for a positive drug or alcohol test result or employees who are injured as a result of abusing drugs or alcohol.
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