Central GA Tech College, “H” Building Auditorium, Macon
DATE AND TIME
03/10/20 11:00am – 03/10/20 1:00pm
FREE event & lunch provided. Guest speaker is attorney Jeff Thompson from Constangy. Seminar satisfies annual continuing ed requirements.
Very pleased to have Jeff Thompson as the featured speaker for this year’s Drug Free Workplace seminar. A partner with the law firm Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP, Jeff’s primary focus is on representing management in employment, litigation, labor matters, providing general advice to clients as well as training clients on preventative measures to avoid litigation.
Also, he serves as the Labor Counsel to the Georgia Employers’ Association.
Drugs and Workplace Safety
In the past, the need for workplace safety has primarily focused on equipment, processes and the conditions of the physical workplace. Those issues remain extremely important; however, drugs and drug use by employees have garnered equal if not more attention. And rightfully so.
“Companies have a legal liability to provide a safe work environment as well as to protect the public from harm by some action of their employee in the line of duty. As a result, they should drug test to protect their workers and customers.”
-Visions, Winter 2020, NAOHP
There is no quick and easy answer for employers when it comes to drug screening employees. The bottom line is this: The federal government and all states still uphold and maintain an employers right to drug test and take action against a positive drug test.
The U.S. Department of Labor and the National Institute on Drug Abuse have found that employees who suffer from drug or alcohol dependency are nearly 3 times more likely to either cause or personally experience an injury-related absence from work. When a person is under the influence of a drug, whether for medical purposes or recreational use, the reflexes slow down, the ability to make rational decisions is negatively impacted, and the user can in many cases subject others to unsafe circumstances or environments that can cause injury and even a fatality.
Because of a tightening labor pool, some companies have considered eliminating drug testing or even “relaxing” their current drug screening programs. Not only would that decision place their employees and customers at risk, but it will turn back more than 100 years of efforts made to protect our nation’s workforce and meet the commitments that employers made to their hard-working employees that ” safety is our #1 priority .”
Regarding this decision, employers should consider:
Culpability the employer will face by putting its non-drug using workforce in jeopardy of injury.
Risks/costs associated with assuming 100% liability for any and all workplace accidents caused by employee substance use.
Sources: NAOHP, OH&S, www.psychemedics.com
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