What do we need to do before implementing a drug and alcohol testing program?

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in Employment Law,Hiring,Human Resources

Q. My company wants to begin substance-abuse testing of employees that it suspects are under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the workplace. We already have a drug- and alcohol-free workplace policy. Is there anything else we need to do to allow us to test employees for illegal drugs or alcohol?

A.
Yes, Minnesota has established specific requirements and procedures for employee drug and alcohol testing. A Minnesota employer may not ask an employee to submit to drug or alcohol testing unless it has in place a written policy that complies with Minnesota’s Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act.

The policy must identify whom it covers, when drug testing may occur, employee rights to refuse and the consequences of refusal, potential disciplinary action, employee rights to explain or seek a confirmatory retest and any appeal procedures.

If your company wishes to implement reasonable-suspicion drug testing, it will need to provide written notice to all affected employees when it adopts the policy. It must also post notice in a conspicuous location stating that a policy has been adopted and is available for inspection upon request.

Under Minnesota law, a company may test if it has reasonable suspicion that the employee:

  • Is under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Has violated your written work rules prohibiting the use, possession, sale or transfer of drugs or alcohol while the employee is working
  • Has suffered an injury, as that term is defined under the workers’ compensation statutes, or has caused another employee to suffer an injury
  • Has caused a work-related accident, or was operating or assisting in the operation of machinery, equipment or a vehicle involved in a work-related accident. 

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