Knowing the specific laws of the state is the most important way for employers to protect themselves and help their employees recover from a substance abuse problem that impairs their ability to work. Staying informed using available resources is important; however, if you have concerns about a particular employee or workplace accident that has already occurred, contact a local attorney to discuss the matter and receive specific advice.

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The OSHA website provides information on substance abuse in the workplace and offers resources, many that are specially tailored for small businesses. This list of questions can help employers draft a policy statement related to substance abuse in the workplace. The site also explains the details of the 1988 Drug-Free Workplace Act, including requirements, penalties for non-compliance, FAQs, and determining whether your workplace is affected by this act.

This large government organization has a subdivision specifically devoted to substance problems in the workplace. Here, employers can find detailed information about drug-testing job applicants and employees, including a detailed list of certified laboratories by state to send samples to, acceptable reasons for initiating a test, ways to ensure employees do not cheat, guidelines for collecting specimens, cutoffs for concentrations of substances to be considered illegal, and many other topics.

As a result of the 1991 Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act, any employer in a transportation-related business (ranging from airplane mechanics to Coast Guard employees) is required to test employees because the nature of their jobs could put others in grave danger if they were to perform their duties while intoxicated. This information can be found on the Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance's (ODAPC) website. Topics covered include how to handle medical marijuana, how to keep records about testing, approved devices for different types of screening, guidelines for reporting incidents and test results, and how to ensure the security of collection facilities. The website offers a number of forms for different situations. Posters, brochures, and videos are also available.

A division of the United States Department of Labor, the JAN has a complete publication that answers questions about addiction, and how to handle situations of likely substance abuse on the job. For example, the document articulates situations in which an employer can legally refrain from offering a job to a person with a substance-abuse history. It also offers suggestions about how to help employees during a period of treatment, as well as how to recognize and reduce workplace stress and fatigue.

Other Possible Resources for Employers of Alcoholics and Addicts