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Drug and Alcohol Policies

  1. Adopt a written policy - some employers are obligated by law to have written drug-free workplace policies (for example, federal contractors and employers subject to U.S. Department of Transportation drug/alcohol testing rules).

  2. Give the policy to all employees in writing - have employees acknowledge receipt.

  3. If drug or alcohol testing is done:

    1. Pre-employment, random, post-accident, and "for cause" testing are all allowed in Texas and many other states.

    2. Specific drug test results should be obtained from the testing lab - do not use a lab that is not willing to give you a copy of the results and the chain of custody of the sample.

    3. Preferably, use a nationally-certified testing lab that will follow strict procedures and furnish complete documentation to support the employer in case a claim or lawsuit is filed - the documentation should show at least the following:

      1. type of tests performed and concentrations of specific substances found;

      2. indication of specific cut-off levels required for a positive result;

      3. initial results confirmed by GC/MS (gas chromatography/mass spectrometry) method; and

      4. chain of custody showing who handled the sample at all pertinent times - this is for dealing with the common excuse that the samples must have been switched.

  4. In cases of drug tests mandated under DOT rules, obtain copies of documents showing complete compliance with DOT regulations concerning the test and the review of the results by the medical review officer - DOT regulation 49 C.F.R. §40.323 (PDF) allows release of such documentation by the employer for responding to claims and lawsuits arising from such a test.

  5. When responding to unemployment claims arising from drug or alcohol tests, copies of the policy, the signed test consent form, and the documentation outlined in comments 3 and 4 above, should be submitted to TWC in response to the claim.

 

For a sample policy on drug and alcohol testing, click here.

 

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