The breathalyzer is a testing device to detect alcohol through the breath. Without attempting to violate the privacy, the purpose of using a breathalyzer test is to provide a safe work environment and to prevent accidents with workers under the influence of alcohol. It is under the employer’s responsibility to ensure the optimal health of the employees during work hours, otherwise employees and employers can face serious consequences.

Depending on certain circumstances — like the state laws and the job position — employers are allowed to test for alcohol in their employees. Here are some factors to consider:

When to Test Your Employees? 

Employers can run a breath alcohol test in their employees in the following scenarios:

Reasonable Suspicion

Employers cannot randomly decide to run an alcohol test without reasonable suspicion, contrarily the employer could face accusations for discrimination. It is valid to run an alcohol test when the employer presents intoxication signs, such as:

  • Alcohol odor or alcohol breath.
  • Difficulty in motor skills.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Visual proof that the employee has been consuming alcohol in the workplace. 

After Work Accident

Employees have a legal obligation to report accidents occurring at work, like property damage or injuries. Once again, the employer must have reasonable suspicion to run an alcohol test, even after a work accident.

Implementing a Breathalyzer Drug Testing Company Policy

As employers, regardless of the desire to believe in the best of people, running a business sometimes requires preventive measurements. Without a company policy, a business — and everyone related to it — can be affected by one person and one bad decision. 

Establishing alcohol or drug testing as a job application requisite is a common practice for companies. Regular testing is considered suitable for sensitive jobs related to public safety. Both previous situations require companies to adopt a policy to implement regular drug testing practices. The policy should specify the time and manner of how will the test be conducted. Employers must build the drug company policy under the state and local laws. 

Can employees refuse to take an alcohol test?

If the employer has reasonable suspicion, the employee — although they are at free will to not cooperate — can face consequences for refusing an alcohol test, this includes contract termination and removal of unemployment benefits. 

Legal Issues

Substance abuse is a sensitive issue where it is best to not make assumptions. An alcohol test is the only way to confirm that the employee is intoxicated, rather than suffering from illness or having medication side effects.

If an employee has a motive or proof of discrimination, they can file a lawsuit against the company. To avoid liability, compromise to the following procedures:

  • Random drug testing is not allowed in certain states. Employers should adapt to any local laws before proceeding with testing.
  • Create a company policy that states the prohibit consumption of alcohol during work hours.
  • Observe your employees carefully before asking the to comply to a reasonable suspicion drug test.


The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) considers alcoholism as a disability. As long as the employee’s disability is not interfering with its work duties, the employer is required to accommodate the employee. Accommodation includes rehabilitation practices, like AA meetings. 

In case of the disability interfering with the employee’s tasks, the employer is allowed to suspend or terminate the contract. 

An alcohol-free work environment provides safety and encourages healthy habits. At Soteria Screening Laboratories, we have the best interest in the health of your company and your employees. Contact us today to receive further information about our alcohol tests!

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