The employer should take steps to provide a safe workplace for employees, and to act in a reasonable and prudent manner when faced with employees who may be impaired on the job as a result of drug and/or alcohol use. The employer’s vigilance is most necessary in those jobs where employees work with dangerous machinery or are otherwise exposed to dangerous conditions. In addition, the employer may be responsible to the public if an impaired employee poses a safety threat to the public, such as drivers of government vehicles.
Many local governments are voluntarily adopting drug-free workplace policies and establishing drug awareness programs and employee assistance programs (EAPs). Policies should be tailored to the needs and interests of each employer.
Unlike the private sector, there are constitutional limitations on the ability of governmental employers to conduct drug testing programs. The only drug testing that is legally mandated for county employees is for those who are required to have a commercial driver license. The requirements for this program are discussed on the page entitled “Federally Mandated Drug Testing.”