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The importance of clear substance abuse policies

There are many tricky issues regarding employees that can come up for a business owner. How an owner responds to such issues can have some significant ramifications, including legal ramifications, for their business. Thankfully, there are preparations businesses can make aimed at helping to deal with these matters. This includes putting out workplace policies setting out how particular employee-related issues will be dealt with.

One very tough employee-related situation a business might encounter is detecting signs that one of its employees may be engaging in substance abuse. There are many major concerns a business might have upon making such a discovery. This includes concerns about: the employee’s well-being, what impacts the abuse could have on the business, what legal issues the situation could trigger and how to handle the situation.

When dealing with this complex situation, a business may want a road map to follow. This is where a substance abuse policy can come into play. This is one of the types of policies that can be included in an employee handbook. Such a policy can outline things like:

  • What particular things the business prohibits.
  • When drug testing will be used.
  • The process for investigating substance abuse matters.
  • The disciplinary process for substance abuse matters.
  • What disciplinary actions the business will use for employee violations of the policy.

Now, businesses have significant discretion when it comes to what their substance abuse policies can look like. One thing that can be very important when a business puts a drug abuse policy in place is for the policy to be clear. An unclear policy could severely limit the ability of the policy to serve as a helpful road map for a business when employee substance abuse matters arise. This could create confusion within a business when dealing with such matters, which could up the chances of a business making an impactful misstep or error.

Also, an unclear policy could lead to the business and its employees not being on the same page on what exactly the policy is, which could open the door for problems.

So, what its substance abuse policy looks like can matter quite a bit for a business. Given this, when a company wishes to add a substance abuse policy to its employee handbook, it should consider seeking out a skilled lawyer’s help in drafting the policy.

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