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Posts in Drug-Free Workplace.

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In 1997, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law providing savings to employers who establish "Drug-Free" workplace policies.  The discount is currently 5% from the Workers' Compensation insurance policy premium.  For larger companies, this can be quite a significant savings.

Additionally, some organizations and individuals doing business with the government are required to provide a drug-free workplace for employees. This would include organizations with federal government contracts in excess of $100,000, organizations receiving federal grant funding, as well as individual contractors and grant recipients.  Subcontractors and subgrantees do not fall under this requirement.

There are several sources of good information regarding setting up a drug-free workplace policy:

  1. Department of Labor:  the website provides a great deal of information to businesses on how to setup a drug-free workplace policy including the "drug-free workplace policy builder" which guides individuals through a set of questions to help build the policy.
  2. Small Business Administration:  links to information pertaining particularly to small businesses and government contractors.  

In a recent decision, Virginia Employment Commission v. Community Alternatives, Inc. and April L. Collier, the Virginia Court of Appeals overruled the Virginia Employment Commission's position that in order to establish worker misconduct for failing a drug test, the employer must include in evidence a certification regarding the chain of custody of the drug test.   

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The case centered around Community Alternatives, Inc.'s ("CA") "drug-free workplace" policy. Under the policy, employees agreed to refrain from usage of illegal drugs and agreed to submit themselves to random drug testing. In 2007, April Collier was hired by CA.  When hired she signed the policy agreeing to the "drug-free workplace" policy. 

In September of 2008, Collier was randomly tested for drugs.  She tested positive for marijuana and was subsequently fired for violating the policy.  She filed a claim for unemployment benefits with VEC.  VEC ultimately awarded benefits despite CA's objections.