What’s your workplace alcohol testing policy? Alcohol consumption in the workplace is more common as progressive businesses include perks such as wine tasting or in-house beers on a Friday afternoon, but it doesn’t mean it’s a free for all.
There needs to be a distinct line drawn as we mix work with alcohol. Alcohol consumption in the workplace poses a number of threats to a business, making alcohol policies a necessity to address a company’s rules regarding use.
A good alcohol policy and proper alcohol testing protects your business against lost productivity, accidents, and more. Learn more about employee alcohol tests in our most recent blog.
How to Write an Alcohol Testing and Use Policy
The majority of U.S. businesses have a written drug and alcohol testing policy in place, but every business’ needs and rules are different. There is no one-size solution for workplace alcohol policies. Make sure your alcohol policy is appropriate for your workplace and industry and addresses the following:
- The importance that employees are fit for work during working hours
- Whether or not alcohol use is permitted in your workplace, and if so, when is it allowed. This may include only when clients are not on the premises or when client meetings are concluded for the day.
- Who is permitted to partake? For instance, are interns over 21 allowed?
- If applicable, detail policy variations that apply to employees in different roles (such as drivers and heavy machinery operators)
- Outline your policies and procedures for drugs or alcohol testing
In addition to a workplace alcohol policy, companies must pay special consideration to their approach in handling cases where the policy has been violated.
Disciplinary actions are typically more limited than one might imagine, especially if the violation is related to alcohol addiction. Courts have ruled that alcoholism qualifies as a protected disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
If writing a policy is cumbersome or overwhelming, seek help. At Barada Associates, we handle these tasks all the time. In addition, we work with law firm partners to ensure all policies are written within federal and state statutes.
Are Employee Alcohol Tests Legal?
Laws vary by state, so it’s important to be up to date on local statutes. In general, most states allow drug or alcohol testing in certain situations. Common circumstances include:
- All applicants are tested similarly for the same position or job
- A state-certified lab administers the tests
- The employer has extended an offer clearly stating it’s contingent on successful tests
- Tests are fully disclosed within the job posting or application so the applicant is fully aware tests are part of the process
When Do Employers Test for Alcohol Use?
If your business wishes to pursue alcohol testing, determine scenarios for testing. Employers commonly require alcohol testing as well as testing for illicit drugs:
- Prior to hiring
- If there is a suspicion of use
- Following an accident
- At random or on a set schedule
- Following a probationary period
- Prior to promotion
How Do Employers Test for Alcohol Use?
Several alcohol testing options exist for companies, including laboratory facility testing or on-site in the workplace. Be advised, some options are unavailable if the Department of Transportation regulations apply.
- Breathalyzer device
- Saliva screens
- Blood alcohol tests in a lab
Breath Alcohol Testing
If an HR Manager possesses the proper training and the company has appropriate policies in place, it is possible to conduct Breathalyzer testing on-site. Such testing may also be conducted at a designated facility.
Results over 0.02 using evidential breath testing (EBT) methods require confirmation testing 20 minutes following the first test. Confirmation tests over 0.04 are considered positive under federal regulations.
Saliva screening devices provide a quick negative or non-negative result for employers, taking about five minutes to complete. Non-negative results do require EBT testing for confirmation within 30 minutes of the first saliva screen. It is possible for this screening to be performed in the workplace or at a designated facility.
Blood Alcohol Tests
Blood alcohol testing must be conducted at a proper testing facility. Blood samples are collected at a designated medical facility and tested at a certified laboratory. The lab provides employers with the result of lab testing.
Professional Alcohol Testing Services from Barada Associates
Protect your business from the risks of intoxication on the job. Barada Associates is available to offer pre-employment and employee alcohol and drug testing services, as well as a number of options for drug screening. We partner with reputable labs and ensure secure results for your review. In addition, a licensed Medical Review Officer verifies positive test results.
We’re also happy to consult on the development of policies, terms and conditions and ensure they’re legally compliant for all your locations. Contact Barada Associates today for more information about alcohol testing or to discuss how employee alcohol or drug testing helps ensure the safety of your business, employees, and customers.