Alcohol and Drug Testing for Reasonable Cause - HR Policy 634

Alcohol and Drug Testing for Reasonable Cause - HR Policy 634

Abstract:
This policy states that UAB is committed to providing a drug-free environment, and therefore may subject employees to drug and alcohol testing based on reasonable cause.
Effective Date:
10/17/1995
Responsible Party:
Contacts:
None Assigned
Administrative Category:
Applies To:
Staff
Material Original Source:

Policy 634 - Alcohol and Drug Testing for Reasonable Cause

Date Issued: 10/17/95
Date Revised:

Purpose and Background

Employees are the most valuable resource of the UAB University Hospital (hereinafter referred to as the Hospital). The health and safety of those employees and of the patients are serious concerns. The Hospital work environment is safer and more effective without the presence or effect of illegal drugs, controlled substances abuse, or alcohol. Employees who abuse alcohol or drugs are a danger to themselves, coworkers, patients, and the Hospital. The adverse impact of illegal drugs, controlled substances abuse, and alcohol in the workplace has been recognized by the federal government. All of UAB, including the Hospital, is required by federal law to maintain a drug-free workplace. It is a condition of employment at UAB, including the Hospital, that employees be, and remain, free of illegal drugs, controlled substances abuse, and alcohol while at work or while performing job functions related to employment at UAB and the Hospital.

This policy establishes rules and procedures for drug and alcohol testing based on reasonable cause to believe that a Hospital employee is using alcohol or illegal drugs in the workplace, is abusing controlled substances in the workplace, or is performing official duties while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or controlled substances abuse.

Definitions

For purposes of this policy, the following definitions shall apply:

"Employee" is defined as any individual (including staff and faculty) who receives a paycheck from UAB.

"Supervisor" is defined as any employee (including staff and faculty) who has supervisory or managerial authority over another employee or over a student. In the case of the Medical and Dental Staff, the "supervisor" is considered to be the Division Director or the Department Chair. In the case of House Staff, the "supervisor" is considered to be the Program Director.

"Illegal drugs" are defined as (1) drugs and controlled substances the possession or use of which are unlawful pursuant to any federal, state, county, or local laws and regulations governing drugs and controlled substances that are not legally obtainable, (2) drugs and controlled substances which are legally obtainable but which have not been legally obtained, and (3) controlled substances that were legally obtained but which are being abused. Examples include, but are not limited to, street drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, and controlled substances such as amphetamine, methamphetamine, and barbiturates. (See the UAB Drug-free Workplace Policy for a more complete definition and lists of drugs.)

"Controlled substances" are those listed as such by the federal government but which are not being used for prescribed purposes or in a prescribed manner. This includes, but is not limited to, prescribed drugs being used by, or in the possession of, someone other than the person to whom they were lawfully prescribed. (See the UAB Drug-free Workplace Policy for a more complete definition and lists of drugs.)

"Alcohol" (or "alcoholic beverages") is defined as beer and other brewed malt beverages, wine, and distilled spirits.

"Reasonable Cause" Drug and Alcohol Testing

Any Hospital employee who is reasonably suspected of using alcohol or illegal drugs or of abusing controlled substances in the workplace or of performing official duties while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or abused controlled substances will be required to undergo an alcohol and/or drug test. "Reasonable cause" exists when an employee exhibits patterns of behavior that suggest impairment from drug or alcohol use or when job performance or safety is affected. An employee may be requested to take a drug or alcohol test if management officials or supervisors have reasonable cause to believe that the employee's faculties are impaired while at work due to drug or alcohol use. An employee who refuses to consent to an alcohol or drug test will be discharged from employment.

"Reasonable Cause" Administrative Standards

Assessment of Employee Behavior

Any observed behavior which reasonably suggests that the employee is using drugs or is under the influence of alcohol may result in immediate action as outlined elsewhere in this policy. The following behaviors may indicate abuse of alcohol, controlled substances, or illegal drugs:

  • Unauthorized leave from work areas.
  • Excessive tardiness when returning from breaks or meal periods.
  • Accidents on the job.
  • Significant swings in normal behavior, morale, or level of productivity.
  • Inattention to work or assigned duties and poor judgment.
  • Over-reaction to real or imagined criticism.
  • Poor or inappropriate patient care.

Other actions or behavior not enumerated above as indicators of alcohol or illegal drug use or controlled substances abuse also may constitute reasonable cause for alcohol and/or drug testing.

When a Hospital supervisor observes that an employee's job performance or behavior does not meet established standards or customary behavior, the observation is to be documented by the supervisor.

Actions to be Taken by Supervisor

Upon observing behavior that does not meet established standards or customary behavior, supervisors are to take the following actions:

  • Make sure the employee is informed about, and understands, the standards of performance which apply to his or her job performance and behavior.
  • Document any medical problems which may be contributing to the employee's behavior (known medical problems of the employee or medical problems which the employee discloses at this time).
  • Document all behavior, attendance, and job performance that does not meet established standards or customary behavior.
  • Monitor the employee's performance and behavior, and take disciplinary action if performance or behavior continues to fall below acceptable standards.

Upon reasonable cause to believe that an employee is using alcohol or illegal drugs in the workplace, is abusing controlled substances in the workplace, or is performing official duties while under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or controlled substances abuse the supervisor is to take the following action:

  • Immediately notify the supervisor's superior, and, as soon as practicable, notify the appropriate Hospital administrator, Human Resources Relations, and the Office of Risk Management and Insurance. If possible, the supervisor should have another supervisor also observe and evaluate the employee's behavior.
  • Escort the employee in question to a location away from other employees, patients, or the public so that the employee in question can be interviewed privately and confidentially.
  • In the presence of the supervisor's superior or another supervisor, if possible, ask the employee to explain the situation and condition surrounding the incident and/or behavior. Document the explanation. If the explanation is not considered by the supervisor(s) to be a reasonable one, the supervisor may require the employee to take a drug test as stipulated by this policy.
  • Explain to the employee the implications of the testing, the possible outcome for the person's employment, and the consequences if the employee refuses to submit to the testing.

The supervisor then is to follow as closely as reasonably practicable the steps set forth in the following sections entitled "Procedures for Employee Drug and Alcohol Testing," "Reporting and Reviewing of Drug Test Results," "Appeal and Retesting," and "Chain of Custody." Failure to strictly comply with provisions of such sections shall not invalidate test results nor affect enforcement of this policy.

Procedures for Employee Drug and Alcohol Testing

  • The employee's supervisor (or the UAB Police if the situation warrants it) shall escort the employee to the Division of Occupational Health and Environmental Medicine during its regular work hours or after regular work hours and on weekends to the Center for Psychiatric Medicine for specimen collection.
  • Prior to testing, the employee must sign a form agreeing to the testing and authorizing the release of test results based on the need to know but specifically to the Medical Review Officer, the Employee Health Nurse, the employee's supervisor, the employee's department head (or division/program director, if applicable), Human Resources Relations, the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, Risk Management and Insurance, an approved treatment program (if applicable), and the Office of Counsel. An employee who refuses to submit to testing must indicate that on the form and must sign and date the form. Employees who refuse to sign the consent form will not be tested and will be discharged from employment.
  • A specimen will be collected by the Division of Occupational Health and Environmental Medicine or by the Center for Psychiatric Medicine, as appropriate.
  • No specimen may be taken unless the employee is conscious and has given verbal and written permission.
  • Depending on the employee's condition, the supervisor may offer assistance with making transportation arrangements for the employee to get home. If the employee leaves the work premises prior to arrival of the arranged transportation, the supervisor shall document that fact.

Reporting and Reviewing of Drug Test Results

  • The employee's specimen will be sent to a certified National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) laboratory.
  • The certified NIDA laboratory will report all test results as required within an average of three days after receipt of a specimen by the laboratory. Test results will be reported to the Medical Review Officer who will inform the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program.
  • The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program will notify Human Resources Relations who will inform the employee's supervisor and the Office of Risk Management and Insurance. The Faculty and Staff Assistance Program will notify an approved treatment program if applicable for first incident (see "Positive Tests" section below).
  • The Medical Review Officer will notify the employee of the test results.

Appeal and Retesting

  • An employee may appeal a positive test result by submitting a written request to the Medical Review Officer within three days after being informed of the positive test result.
  • The Medical Review Officer or designee will contact the laboratory holding the specimen and will provide instruction and guidance to the employee as to how to proceed to have a second confirmatory test conducted on the same specimen. All expenses for retests will be the responsibility of the employee. In the event that the retest is negative thereby indicating that the positive result from the first test was erroneous, the Hospital will reimburse the employee for the cost of the retest.

Chain of Custody

To preserve the integrity of all specimens collected for reasonable cause testing for alcohol or illegal drug use or controlled substances abuse at the Hospital, a chain of custody will be maintained as documented in separate procedures established for the purpose of controlling custody of the specimens.

Policies and Procedures Following Testing

General

The Medical Review Officer will review all positive test results with the employee.

Notice of test results may be released to the employee's supervisor and department head (or division/program director, if applicable), the Employee Health Nurse, Human Resources Relations, the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, Risk Management and Insurance, an approved treatment program, the Office of Counsel, and to others on a need-to-know basis.

Employees who are tested due to reasonable cause to suspect alcohol or drug use/abuse will be placed on administrative leave without pay until the employee's department receives the test results. If the test results are negative, the employee will be paid for the time off on leave.

Positive Tests

If the test results are positive, the employee will be discharged without notice and/or without pay in lieu of notice (except as stated below related to first incident). The employee will not receive compensation for the period of the administrative leave prior to discharge.

If the test results are positive and the employee is in the first six months of employment as a full-time regular or part-time regular employee, the employee will be discharged without notice and/or without pay in lieu of notice.

If the employee tests positive for a prescribed drug that was listed on the consent form at the time of the specimen collection, the Medical Review Officer will review with the employee the actual prescription, the amount taken daily, and the reason for the employee's taking the prescribed drug. The Medical Review Officer also will review the level of alcohol or the drug present in the employee's system. Additionally, the employee must sign a release statement authorizing the Medical Review Officer to release information on a need-to-know basis but specifically to the Employee Health Nurse, the employee's supervisor and department head (or division/program director, if applicable), Human Resources Relations, the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, Risk Management and Insurance, an approved treatment program (if applicable), and the Office of Counsel concerning the prescription, the illness for which the drug was prescribed, and the length of time the employee will be taking the drug.

In cases of the first incident of an employee's testing positive for alcohol or illegal drug use or controlled substances abuse, in lieu of discharge the employee may elect to enter a treatment program approved by UAB. In the event that an employee is referred to an approved treatment program, as a condition of consideration for continuing employment the employee must abide by the advice and recommendations of the professional staff and/or clinicians of that program and must adhere to procedures and/or guidelines established by the Hospital administration. Participation in approved treatment programs shall be at the expense of the employee. The Hospital shall not refer employees to an approved treatment program in lieu of discharge following any positive tests for alcohol or illegal drug use or controlled substances abuse beyond the first incident. While participating in an approved treatment program for first incident, the employee will be placed on an appropriate leave of absence with or without pay depending on the status of accrued benefit time in accordance with the UAB leave of absence policy. Before the employee may return to work, the employee must present to his or her department head (or division/program director, if applicable) and to Human Resources Relations a physician's certification stating that the employee has complied with an alcohol or illegal drug use or controlled substances abuse approved treatment program and is able to return to work. Such an employee must agree to periodic random tests for alcohol or illegal drug use or controlled substances abuse for a period of two years at the employee's expense at a UAB-designated facility.

Confidentiality

All information regarding testing for alcohol or illegal drug use or controlled substances abuse and the results of such testing is to be held in strict confidence by all parties involved. Failure by any employee to maintain confidentiality will result in disciplinary action, which may include discharge from employment.

Attachment

The form attached to this policy is a part of the policy, but the form may be revised from time to time without affecting the policy itself.

Implementation

This Hospital policy has been approved by the President and is effective immediately. The policy will be included as an update to the Human Resources Personnel Policies and Procedures Manual and the Hospital manuals and handbooks, as appropriate. UAB University Hospital Alcohol and Drug Testing for Reasonable Cause October 17, 1995, Revision.