How Drug-Free Workplaces Affect Workers’ Compensation

Do you work in a drug-free workplace?

What Is A Drug-Free Workplace?

According to the Council of Alcohol and Drugs, a drug-free workplace is an “employment setting where all employees adhere to a program of policies and activities designed to provide a safe workplace, discourage alcohol and drug abuse and encourage treatment, recovery, and the return to work of those employees with such abuse problems.”

By promoting a healthy and clean life, drug-free workplaces create safer environments and promote healthier lifestyles. This can make a huge, positive difference in a company’s overall happiness and morale. Plus, having a drug-free workplace allows employers to get a discount on workers’ compensation insurance.

The Requirements of a Drug-Free Workplace

To become a drug-free workplace in Florida, a workplace must meet certain requirements. These include:

  • A drug and alcohol policy
  • An employee drug and alcohol testing program, conducted by a certified laboratory and verified by a medical review officer
  • An Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which helps employees who are struggling with addiction or other personal issues
  • Supervision training to detect reasonable suspicion of drug use

The tests must be impartial. This means that the tests must be random, preferably based on a computer system. They cannot target specific people or groups of people without reasonable cause. For example, a drug test policy is potentially biased if it only employees of a certain race get tested. However, tests can be performed on a specific person if there is reasonable cause to suspect drug use. A reasonable cause might be paraphernalia in their possession or erratic behavior at work.

Overall, a drug-free workplace can have a positive effect on everyone involved. One area where drug testing can cause some complications, though, is workers’ compensation.

How Drug Testing Affects Workers’ Compensation Benefits

An injured employee is generally able to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are some exceptions, including a caveat about drug or alcohol usage at the time of the accident. According to Florida workers’ compensation law, the injured worker may not receive compensation if the cause of the injury was “the intoxication of the employee, or the influence or any drugs, barbiturates, or other stimulants not prescribed by a physician.”

By doing drug tests after a suspicious accident, employers can make sure the injury was truly an accident and not the result of an employee’s reckless and irresponsible decision. However, complications over post-accident drug tests might arise if the employer does not properly distribute or enforce their drug policy. For example, if a company fails to inform an employee about drug testing in the workplace, that failure to inform might affect their ability to deny workers’ compensation benefits to that employee on the basis of drug use.  If the employer is not following the requirements of a drug-free workplace, they might be unable to deny benefits based on drug use, as they themselves were not properly following drug-free workplace rules.

Be Responsible at Work!

Of course, it’s important to never work under the influence of drugs and alcohol. When people work under the influence, they can cause injuries to themselves, their fellow employees, and others around them. This is why all employers should make responsible choices at work, even if their job is not officially a drug-free environment.

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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