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You want your employees to perform their best, and you want to provide a safe working environment. For many small business employers, that means keeping your workplace drug-free. While attitudes (and state laws) are changing regarding certain drug use, and some large companies have taken a liberal approach to employee drug habits and histories, the drug-free office, factory, or restaurant has become the norm.
While federal and state laws allow for drug testing at work (and some require it), there are legal and illegal ways to go about implementing employee drug testing policies. Here are some tips for small business employers:
While some state and federal regulations may require random drug testing for workers in certain professions during employment, some states prohibit most types of random drug testing. You may need some reasonable suspicion before drug testing an employee, or test in response to a workplace accident.
Even drug testing after an injury can be tricky. You need to be proactive and have a written policy in place before any accident or injury, and provide medical attention to anyone injured, regardless of suspicion of drug use.
Recreational weed is legal in a few states, and medical marijuana with a prescription is OK in many others. Does that mean you need to put up with pot-smoking workers? And what if they're not too stoned to work, but you still don't want them using marijuana anyway?
Just because you think an employee is using drugs, testing isn't your only option. Perhaps offering counseling or treatment rather than threatening testing and termination can produce a better result.
And even if an employee's drug test comes back positive, termination is the only answer. While it's tempting to treat every drug incident on a case-by-case basis, you may be better off having standard steps that you follow for each and every employee.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.