Drug-free Policy Compliance? Engage an Expert.

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RCS Influencer Brian Pratt explains why it’s best to consult a compliance expert when it comes to drug-free policies and compliance.

When attempting to be in compliance with the state regulated drug-free workplace laws we would recommend engaging with an HR compliance expert or a labor related attorney to ensure that your roofing company is in compliance. The challenge can be when a roofing contractor is performing projects in multiple states. If you conduct business in more than one state, navigating through the laws of each state can be difficult to craft a policy that is uniform and consistent with each of the state’s regulations.

One of the most impactful items for a drug-free workplace is the legalization of marijuana. There are currently 28 legal medical marijuana states including eight states approved for recreational use.

The biggest change employees/workers may not be aware of is that laws legalizing medical or recreational marijuana do not prevent an employer from taking action based on an employee’s use of the drug.

In addition, they may not realize that marijuana can stay in a person’s system for 24 to 48 hours after use. Employees who legally use the drug on weekends, or while on vacation, may need to face the consequences of a positive drug test on Monday morning.

Workers should be aware of the impact drug use can have on the workplace, how long the drug stays in an individual’s system, and what will happen if they test positive for the drug.

It’s also important to train foremen/supervisors to recognize the signs of substance abuse. They should know when a drug test is warranted, and what to do if the result is positive.

Currently, a person using medical marijuana within the limits of the state law won’t face criminal charges but employers are not required to allow workers to use, or be impaired by, the drug at work. So far courts have consistently ruled that employers can take disciplinary action based on a positive drug test for marijuana but things can change.

Changing state laws make it imperative for employers to regularly review their drug-free workplace and substance abuse policies. In addition to decriminalizing marijuana use, state law may also regulate when and how drug testing is to be conducted.

To recap, employers should review their substance abuse policy regularly to make sure it reflects the current needs of the workplace. Employee job functions, safety issues, and any emerging substance abuse concerns should be taken into account.

A substance abuse policy is never really finished. As more recreational and medical marijuana laws are introduced, employers need to make sure their substance abuse prevention practices remain current.

Brian Pratt is a regional manager for Roofing Risk Advisors, Division of Furman Insurance. See his full bio here.

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