The Case for Maintaining a Drug Testing Policy

by Steve Beller on March 16, 2017

Employers conduct drug testing for a number of reasons – pre-employment, random, post-accident, reasonable suspicion, and return-to-duty. Of these, reasonable suspicion can often be the most litigious and, as such, points out the importance of creating and maintaining a comprehensive workplace drug testing policy and program. The case of Layne v. Kanawha County Board of Education is a great example of an effective policy in action.

The case was presented in a recent article in the National Law Review. In it, “the petitioner, Layne, was a middle school sign language interpreter who was observed behaving erratically by five employees.”  Her actions were reported to the school principle who subsequently met with Layne. During their conversation, the principle observed suspicious behaviors. Among other things, she had trouble sitting still, was rambling, and seemed overly fixated on items in her bag. The principal documented his observations and requested that she submit to a drug test. The article goes on to state that “when the interpreter refused, the consequences (i.e., disciplinary action) were explained and after refusing further, the school suspended the interpreter.” She continued to refuse to take a drug test and the school opted to not renew her contract, effectively terminating her employment.

Layne fought the termination and sued the Board of Education. She lost her case and subsequently appealed to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court of Appeals found no error in the initial ruling and affirmed the lower court’s decision.

This case demonstrates the importance of creating a detailed, comprehensive workplace drug and alcohol testing policy. Best practices for such a policy include:

  • Have a written policy that clearly spells out the types of testing that will be conducted and the consequences for refusing to test
  • Actively communicate your substance abuse policy to employees
  • Provide supervisor training on the warning signs of drug abuse
  • Make certain that your testing program complies with state laws

Learn more about creating effective workplace testing programs by downloading our Guide to Establishing a Workplace Drug Testing Program. For information on drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.

This blog post does not contain legal advice, and advises the reader to consult with their attorney on legal issues, including state laws regarding drug testing programs.

Sobering Facts about the Repeal of Obamacare

by Steve Beller on January 30, 2017

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, has been one of the most contentious pieces of legislation in decades. While more than 20 million Americans are covered by the ACA, many have vocalized concerns over the cost and effectiveness of the legislation. With the outcome of November’s election, Congress and President Trump are working to repeal the ACA. As a result, people with addiction and mental health disorders, as well as their families and treatment providers, are wondering how patients will maintain their sobriety if the ACA is repealed.

In a recent article in the USA Today, the American Psychiatric Association was quoted as saying, “the people helped the most by the ACA are the ones most likely to suffer from poor mental health and addiction. Nearly 30% of those who got coverage through Medicaid expansion have a mental disorder, such as anxiety or schizophrenia, or an addiction to substances, such as opioids or alcohol, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).”

In terms of real numbers, The Hill recently published excerpts from a report by two researchers from New York University and Harvard Medical School. The report read, “roughly 2.8 million Americans have a substance use disorder, 222,000 of whom are battling an opioid disorder and would lose some or all of their coverage if the ACA is repealed. To put this in dollar terms, repealing the mental and substance use disorder coverage provisions of the ACA would withdraw at least $5.5 billion annually from the treatment of low income people with mental and substance use disorders.”

In his campaign, President Trump promised to take control of the heroin and opioid epidemic in the U.S. However, some experts are concerned whether this can be accomplished if Obamacare is repealed.

For information on drug testing, visit our website or contact us online.


DUI Rates in the U.S. Hit New Low

January 27, 2017Drugs & Alcohol

Dating back decades, our society has brought awareness to the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and encouraged people to seek safe, sober transportation options. Research shows that alcohol as well as marijuana and other illicit substances weakens reaction times, motor skills, and perception and may lead to reckless driving and […]

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Drugged Drivers Pose a Serious Threat

June 20, 2016News

According to a recent poll conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA), motorists now view drivers, who are under the influence of illicit drugs, as bigger threats to their safety than those driving under the influence of alcohol. Data from the survey revealed the following insights: 74 percent of motorists think people driving after using […]

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Alcohol Awareness Month

April 8, 2016Alcohol

According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), minors use alcohol more frequently than they use all illicit drugs combined. The study revealed that 8.7 million people between the ages of 12 and 20 reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Of those adolescents, 5.3 million were considered binge drinkers and […]

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Startling Statistics Regarding Drunk Driving

December 10, 2015Alcohol

A report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that 4.2 million adults age 18 and older admit to driving while impaired within the past 30 days, resulting in 121 million episodes of impaired driving each month. This is especially concerning in that impaired driving causes one-third of crash fatalities each year […]

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Curbing Drunk Driving

August 31, 2015Alcohol

According to a recent study completed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.2 million people – or 2 percent of the U.S. population – operated a motor vehicle while being under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past month. Analyzing data from a 2012 government survey that asked […]

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Employee Drug and Alcohol Testing Handbook

July 1, 2015Illicit drugs

When will I be tested for drugs at my place of employment? What types of substances will I be tested for? Will my prescriptions interfere with my drug test results? Answers to these and other common drug testing questions can be found in the newly updated Employee Handbook from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). […]

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April is Alcohol Awareness Month

April 2, 2015Alcohol

For nearly three decades, Alcohol Awareness Month has been observed in April. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) created this campaign “to increase public awareness and understanding aimed at reducing the stigma associated with alcoholism that too often prevents individuals and families from seeking help.” To kick things off, the NCADD encourages […]

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National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

December 18, 2014News

The holiday season is a special time for family and friends to celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of another. While many of these celebrations involve the consumption of alcohol, it is imperative for people to think twice before getting behind the wheel. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows […]

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