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Publish and Give a Policy Statement

The employer’s policy statement should be clear about which employees are covered by the policy. For example, will the policy apply to all employees or only to those covered by Act. The employer must make it a requirement that every employee who is engaged in the performance of the covered contract or grant be given a copy of the policy statement. Some employers may choose to have each employee sign a statement acknowledging receipt of the policy. Although this is not specifically required by the Act, it would provide evidence that each employee was given a copy of the policy and that organization was making a good faith effort to comply with the provisions of the Act.

The policy statement should specify what substances are prohibited. The Act only requires that the policy address controlled substances. Although the Act does not require the inclusion of alcohol or prescription drugs in the policy, many companies choose to include provisions in their policies that prohibit on-the-job use of alcohol or the inappropriate use of prescription drugs. Such a provision should be made in accordance with state and local law.

The policy statement must also be clear about the consequences of violating the policy, as well as the process for determining what actions may be taken in response to a violation. The permitted actions include either referral to treatment or appropriate disciplinary action. Regardless of which action an employer chooses, the response should be applied consistently and fairly. Although each case is unique, it is in the employers’ best interest, particularly legally, to treat similar offenses with similar consequences. Many employers provide an employee with the opportunity to seek treatment before initiating disciplinary action.

For assistance developing a policy statement, visit the Drug-free Workplace Advisor's Policy Builder Section.

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