How to Create a Drug-Free Workplace at Your Small Business
Are your employees often absent or seemingly distant when they come to work? Some of them could be hiding a drug problem. As an employee you no doubt want to create a drug-free environment so that everybody feels safe.
This is particularly important if you are a customer-focused company where your employees are regularly in touch with members of the general public or important clients.
Here’s everything you need to know about how to create a drug-free workplace.
One way to ensure you complete a drug-free workplace is by testing everyone at regular intervals or randomly. It’s important that all employees are tested including the senior managers and even the CEO so that nobody in the company feels some people are being treated more leniently than others.
This might seem like an over-the-top policy but it can ensure that everyone is fully co-operating with the end goal of a zero drugs in the workplace policy.
You need to decide how regularly you are going to test everyone. This could be every week or every month. You could test every day using a Uscreen drug test but this could prove costly.
However, if you test at regular intervals then your employees could get to game the system by not taking drugs in the days leading up to the test. The best system is to have a randomized policy. Employees are tested without notice on random days.
Make Your Policy Known
Did you know that 11.2% of Americans over the age of 12 have admitted to taking illegal drugs in a 12-month period in 2017? And this is just those that admit to doing it.
There are many good reasons why as a company you would want to have a strong drug free work policy.
However, you need to spell out what your reasons are for implementing such a policy. You could consider attending drug-free workplace training before you make up your mind.
With drugs such as cannabis being legalized in many states across America, Americans are divided on the drugs debate. Some might see it as a political issue and question your motives so you need to do your research first.
Legal vs Illegal
If you live in a state where cannabis has been legalized you need to make it clear to your employees what your stance on this particular drug is and whether it will be included in the ban from the get-go.
Alcohol is also another drug that is legal, however, most employers would object to their employee being drunk or tipsy at work.
With almost 1-in-2 Americans taking prescription drugs for some kind of condition, you must also set out your policy towards these as well,
Explaining clearly your reasons for implementing your policy backed up by data is the best way to get your employees on board. Don’t lecture them on the dangers of drugs but do set out the company’s policy on drugs clearly.
As well as a testing policy you should also indicate what should happen if an employee is caught in possession of illegal drugs whilst at work, even if they weren’t on them at the time.
You should also avoid creating a witch hunt like atmosphere in the office by allowing employees who feel that they have a drug problem to speak with a senior management official confidentially.
Before the policy comes into play you could put some serious effort into helping current employees get off drugs and improve their performance.
As part of your drug free environment, you should also include a warning system. People need to be aware of what the consequences will be if they fail one negative test.
Remember that testing is not full proof. If someone tests negative once this doesn’t mean there is absolute certainty they were on drugs.
A warning system is a fairer way of dealing with this problem. If an employee tests positive once then they should be given a warning and a reasonable punishment. They could, for example, be sent home for one day without pay.
If they can prove via another test within 24 hours that they were, in fact, negative then they should be able to claim that money back.
Two Strikes vs Three Strikes
As an employer, you need to decide if you have a two strikes policy or a three strikes policy. Will you allow your employees to test positive for a second time before they get a final warning or would a second positive test within six months be enough to seem fired on the spot?
There are pros and cons to two strikes vs three strikes drugs in the workplace policy. Some might argue that two stikes are too strict whilst others might say that after being caught red-handed once they knew the rules and were given their second chances.
A three-strikes policy could be fairer but you will fire fewer people. In a competitive job market, this might not be the best policy for you.
Create the Drug-Free Workplace Policy You Want
With Covid making the jobs market an employer’s dream, with millions out of work, creating a drug-free workplace that you want is now achievable.
Ensure that you clearly explain your testing policy and the evidence behind it. Also, be clear about what the consequences are should an employee test positive. Make some clear decisions about whether you will have a two strikes or three stikes policy.
If you want to learn more about how to create a drug-free workplace policy that works for you be sure to check out the rest of our site.