Tips for a Small Business Drug Testing Policy

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:

1. Drug testing at work isn’t always legal

Some state and federal regulations may require random drug testing for workers in certain professions during employment, in California our constitution protects against random suspicionless drug tests with few exceptions. A California employer may only engage in random drug testing if an employee works in a  safety-sensitive position and allowed drug use would pose an imminent safety health threat with irremediable consequences. Other than that an employer may need some reasonable suspicion before drug testing an employee, or test in response to a workplace accident.

2. Drug testing after work injuries

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.

3. Weed and Work: What businesses need to know about employee marijuana 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? Even so, you might choose to go a more progressive route and show current and prospective employees how pot-friendly your small biz can be. Just be careful in crafting your office policy: keep non-toking employees in mind, and don’t forget that marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

4. What to do if you suspect an employee is on drugs

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.

5. What to do about employees’ drug use at work?

And even if an employee’s drug test comes back positive, termination is not 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.

[This article has been modified, from an original article posted by Christopher Coble, Esq. on September 21, 2017]

Interesting Lawsuit of the Month: Museum Sued for Exhibiting Paintings Depicting Jesus as White

A Manhattan man sued the Metropolitan Museum of Art, claiming it’s committing sacrilege by depicting Jesus as a blonde.

“Racist” paintings portraying Christ as an “Aryan” male should be removed from the walls of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Justin Renel Joseph argues in his Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.

The masterpieces are “offensive aesthetic whitewashing” of the reality that the Savior, as a native of the Middle Eastern region, had “black hair like wool and skin of bronze color,” says Joseph, who is acting as his own lawyer.

He says he suffered “personal stress” after viewing “The Holy Family with Angels” by Sebastiano Ricci; “The Resurrection” by Perugino; “The Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes” by Tintoretto; and “The Crucifixion” by Francesco Granacci.

They are especially offensive to him, he claims, because he himself has “black hair like wool and skin of bronze color.” “The implication that someone who possesses physical features like the plaintiff could not be the important historical and public figure of Jesus Christ . . . caused the plaintiff to feel, among other things, rejected and unaccepted by society,” court papers say.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, however, called the paintings important, historically and artistically. “When they were painted, it was typical for artists to depict subjects with the same identity as the local audience. This phenomenon occurs in many other cultures, as well,” said Met spokeswoman Elyse Topalian.

 Quote of the Month:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” — John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the U.S.