Many small business owners don’t realize how important having a drug-free workplace can be. Many customers like shopping in drug-free establishments because they feel like it is a safe environment and that the people working at the businesses will be able to focus on them and provide quality information to their questions. Establishing a drug-free business takes a lot of effort on the part of the employer though. The following guide walks you through the steps to take if you want to be sure that you have a drug-free business.
Meet with a Lawyer About a Drug-Free Work Place
The first thing you need to do is meet with a lawyer. You need to find out what your legal rights are as an employer and how you can create a drug-free business without violating the rights of your employees. There are specific protocols that must be met in order to enforce a drug-free work zone without risk of legal ramifications.
The lawyer needs to create a contract for your employees to sign. It needs to state that they understand that they must submit to a drug test before being hired for a position and that they agree to random drug tests if you want them to be required. This is often a great option if you own a business that requires people to work around dangerous equipment, handle confidential information or operate vehicles regularly.
It also needs to contain information about what the repercussions will be for bringing drugs into your business or for being high while they are at work. You cannot make up the rules as you go along as they could be deemed as being unfair and prejudice. The contract needs to be legally binding and thus needs to be created by the attorney. The laws regarding drug testing vary from state to state so be sure to choose an attorney that specializes in business law within your state.
Have Specialized Training in Place
In order to have a drug-free business, you need to be sure that everyone is properly trained as to what constitutes as drugs and what the ramifications of using drugs are. The supervisors need to be trained on how to handle the different situations that may arise when it comes to drug use. If someone is given a doctor’s note for a prescription, it needs to be documented.
This ensures that the person doesn’t get in trouble for having the drugs in their system if they fail a drug test. There should also be training to be able to identify the signs of someone being high while they are at work. Someone who is high won’t be able to think clearly and could create a dangerous environment for themselves and their coworkers or even the customers.
It’s also important for the supervisors to know what they are and aren’t allowed to do. They shouldn’t confront the person on their own if they think that an employee is on drugs. It could be dangerous for them and cause a confrontation unnecessarily. Have supervisors come to you if they think that someone is on drugs. You can then pull the person aside and talk about the situation.
Conduct Drug Tests Properly
You cannot legally conduct the drug tests on your own. There could always be a chance that the person could claim that you tampered with the samples and it could fall into sexual harassment suits depending on the gender of the person who is being tested. You should hire a professional drug testing company to test the samples for you. They handle every aspect of the testing from collecting the samples to doing the actual testing and explaining the results to you. You will get everything in writing, as well, which is important if the drug user tries to sue you later on down the road claiming that you fired them for false reasons.
You want to be sure to provide the employee with a copy of the results so that they can see that they failed, as well. Take the time to find a reliable company that has a proven track record of providing quality drug testing to avoid any issues in the future.
Provide a Treatment Option for Employees
Many employers make the mistake of assuming that someone who uses drugs isn’t a quality employee, but that isn’t always the case. There are many times when people get hooked on drugs after they have been in an accident, had surgery or gone through a traumatic experience. Consider offering drug addiction treatment to the employees if you want to be able to keep them at your business.
There are programs available that are very affordably priced, and some are even covered by health insurance that could help your employee to get clean. You want to be sure that you make it very clear that if the person relapses that they will not be given a second chance though.
Abide by the FMLA
If an employee comes to you and tells you that they have an addiction that they want to go to rehab for, you must allow them to seek treatment according to the Family Medical Leave Act. The FMLA requires you to hold their position for them so that they have employment when they return from their treatment. You cannot fire them for seeking treatment though. It’s important to make sure to talk to an attorney if someone seeks rehabilitation to ensure that you meet all of the guidelines of the FMLA properly.
Owning a business that is drug-free allows you to have peace of mind. If someone is on drugs while they are working for you and you know about it, you could be held liable for anything that goes wrong while they are working. If someone gets into an accident, causes a fire or injures themselves while they are high, there are legal repercussions that you could suffer due to your negligence. Many insurance companies will not cover damage caused by individuals who are under the influence so for the health of your business, you should create a drug-free environment right away.
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