As drug and alcohol abuse rises, so does the likelihood of it appearing in your workplace. This puts that employee, their coworkers, and your company at risk. A serious incident could bankrupt your company.

Reasonable suspicion is also known as for-cause testing and is implemented when there is reason to believe the employee may be using alcohol or drugs at work. The first and most important step in implementing reasonable suspicion drug testing is to be sure you have written a Reasonable Suspicion Testing Clause in your alcohol and drug testing policy.  Our experts at  Soteria Screening want to offer these steps to help you properly prepare and implement a well-written alcohol and drug testing policy to protect your company.

  1. Receive Complaints and Asses Reasonable Suspicion 

Coworkers, supervisors, vendors, and even customers are often the first ones to notice unusual behavior. Document the complaints and be sure to get the time and location the incident occurred.

2. Observe the employee

 Two members of management or a manager and a supervisor need to independently view the employee performing his duties. It is best if the managers speak to, look at, and come close enough to smell the employee.

3. Document Observations

  • A- Actions
  • E-Eyes
  • I- Inactions
  • O-Odors
  • U- Upset

Develop a standard checklist.  If you need help developing this form to ensure it will be legal, contact  Soteria Screening.

  1. Access the Situation for Reasonable Suspicion 

If there is a disagreement between the two observers, a third party must be called in to do another evaluation. In this case, the majority vote determines the next action. If he/she feels the employee is fine, file the reports, and move on. If there is a concern, then proceed to the next step.

  1. Meet with the Employee

Calmly and clearly explain to him/her the basis of the initial complaint without identifying the complainer. Then tell him what the observations revealed. At this time, inform him that you are going to send him for a reasonable suspicion drug test according to company policy.

  1. Arrange Transportation.

The employer or manager cannot legally allow an employee that he thinks may be impaired to drive himself to the drug testing center. The employer should pay for a cab, Uber, or another transportation specialist to take him to a drug testing center near you and return him home.

  1. Send the employee for testing.

Call ahead for drug testing at the lab nearest you so they are expecting the employee and know what you want to be run and to send him home from there.

 8.. Address Refusal to Take Test Following Reasonable Suspicion 

You may encounter an employee who refuses to take part in the reasonable suspicion drug testing.

Again, your policy needs to cover this. A refusal should be considered a positive test result and handled as one in step 11. 

  1.       Wait for Test Results

An employee may not return to work until results are received and will be expected to report to the office/plant the day after he is notified of the results to discuss future actions. Put this in the policy. 

  1. Respond to Negative Test Results

This episode could reveal a medical issue that the employee needs to get addressed. Most employers discuss these issues with the employee, apologize if preferred, and pay him for the days out of work.

  1. Respond to Positive Test Results

If the employee’s drug tests come back positive for one or more agents, you need to have this covered in your policy.  Some employers have a zero-tolerance policy. That means one positive test and the

employee is terminated. Others have a second chance policy. They have a substance abuse program for the employee to complete, pass a drug test, then he can return to work. No third chance options.

These are the most common steps for a reasonable suspicion drug testing. As previously indicated, you must write a policy and follow it. You cannot discriminate or show favoritism. Once someone complains about drug abuse, you need to follow these steps and be sure to document them. The experts at Soteria Screening Labs can help you get set up and provide you with nationwide labs.

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