As an employer, maintaining a safe and productive work environment for your employees is essential. However, if an employee tests positive for drugs, it can be a difficult situation to handle. In this article, we'll discuss some important steps you can take to handle employee positive drug tests in a responsible and effective way.
Review your drug testing policy
The first step in handling employee positive drug tests is to review your company's drug testing policy. Ensure that you're following it correctly, and make sure the policy clearly outlines the steps you need to take if an employee tests positive for drugs. In addition, ensure that your policy complies with the latest laws and regulations.
Consider rehabilitation or treatment options
If an employee is struggling with addiction, offering rehabilitation or treatment options can help them overcome their addiction and return to work as a productive member of the team. Showing support for employees can help to build trust, loyalty, and productivity within the workplace.
Ensure proper process is put into place to provide employees an opportunity to provide a reasonable, verifiable, and legal medical explanation for a failed test
It's essential to have a clear process in place that provides employees an opportunity to provide a reasonable, verifiable, and legal medical explanation for a failed test. This process can help to prevent legal disputes and ensure that employees are treated fairly and consistently.
Follow the right protocol in case of a positive test
If an employee tests positive for drugs, ensure that you follow the correct protocol. The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has strict guidelines for handling positive drug tests for employees who perform safety-sensitive duties. The employee must be given the opportunity to request a confirmation test of the same sample. The confirmation test is typically conducted using gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). If the confirmation test is negative, the employee may return to safety-sensitive duties. If the confirmation test is positive, the employer must follow the guidelines for handling positive drug tests, including setting up an interview with a medical review officer (MRO). The MRO is a licensed physician who is responsible for reviewing laboratory results and determining whether a positive or negative result is reported to the employer.
Handle the situation confidentially
Maintain confidentiality in handling the situation, and do not discuss the employee's test results with other employees. Only share the information on a need-to-know basis, and only with individuals authorized to receive the information.
Offer support and resources
Offer support and resources to help employees overcome their addiction. Consider providing them with information on rehabilitation or treatment options, and encourage them to seek professional help.
Take disciplinary action if necessary
If the employee refuses to participate in a rehabilitation or treatment program, or continues to use drugs, then disciplinary action may be necessary. Follow your company's policy on disciplinary action and be consistent in applying it.
In conclusion, handling employee positive drug tests can be challenging, but it's essential to do it responsibly and effectively. By taking these steps, you can maintain a safe and productive work environment for your employees while providing support and assistance to those who need it.