The concept of a drug-free workplace was born in 1914, when the Ford Motor Company established sobriety programs to increase worker efficiency and productivity. Several decades later in 1986, the U.S. government recognized that substance abuse has an adverse effect on the workplace, causing safety concerns and billions of dollars of lost productivity. Thus, the Drug-Free Workplace Act was established in 1988, forcing many government-funded companies to establish a drug-testing program. Learn more about this act’s purpose and requirements below.
Drug-Free Workplace Act
Purpose of the Drug-Free Workplace Act:
The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires many federal contractors and grantees to maintain drug-free workplaces in order to receive contracts or grants from a specific federal agency. The components of the drug-free workplace vary based on whether the contractor/grantee is an individual or an organization, with organizations having more extensive and comprehensive requirements.
The purpose of the act is to identify employees who require treatment due to substance abuse and then help them overcome their issues. By addressing the issue of substance abuse amongst employees, companies can improve their productivity, safety, and morale. In addition, many employers choose to implement pre-employment drug testing to avoid the costly medical care required to treat substance abuse.
Requirements of the Drug-Free Workplace Act:
All organizations covered by the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 are required to provide a drug-free workplace by taking the following steps:
- Publish and provide a policy statement to all covered employees, informing them that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in the covered workplace. In addition, the policy specifies the actions that will be taken against employees who violate the policy.
- Establish a drug-free awareness program to make employees aware of (1) the dangers of drug abuse in the workplace; (2) the policy of maintaining a drug-free workplace; (3) any available drug counseling, rehabilitation, and employee assistance programs; and (4) the penalties that may be imposed upon employees for drug abuse violations.
- Notify employees that as a condition of employment on a federal contract or grant, the employee must (1) abide by the terms of the policy statement and (2) notify the employer within five calendar days if he or she is convicted of a criminal drug violation in the workplace.
- Notify the contracting or granting agency within 10 days after receiving notice that a covered employee has been convicted of a criminal drug violation in the workplace.
- Discipline employees convicted of a reportable workplace drug conviction. You can do this by imposing a penalty on the employee or requiring satisfactory participation in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program.
- Maintain a drug-free workplace through an ongoing, good faith effort by meeting the requirements of the Drug-Free Workplace Act. Note that any contractor or grantee that fails to comply with these requirements is subject to certain penalties.
Companies that do not pursue federal government contracts often utilize the Drug-Free Workplace Act as a template or standard for creating their own drug-free workplace policies. An attorney should always be consulted when developing workplace substance abuse programs to ensure that state, federal, and additional regulations are considered and followed.
Finally, if you’re looking to implement a drug-free workplace through pre-employment or random drug and alcohol testing, contact Employee Screening Services. Based in Springfield, St. Louis, and Kansas City, Missouri, and Indianapolis, Indiana, we offer customized solutions to make drug testing simple, and our nationwide network of clinics and providers allows ESS to be available anytime, anywhere. For a free needs analysis, give us a call today at 1-888-379-7697 or contact us online. We would be happy to help!