Ashley J. Puchalski, Esq., email@example.com, (412) 594-5625
Last issue, we discussed whether it still makes sense for local employers to routinely test employees and applicants for marijuana considering Pennsylvania’s Medical Marijuana Act, changing social/political landscapes, and other barriers to hiring that many companies now face. This issue addresses the natural follow-up question many have: how do we scale back testing while keeping the workplace safe?
One common approach is to treat marijuana use like alcohol use for non-DOT positions. This relies on a strong substance abuse policy and reasonable suspicion program.
While there is no magic recipe for the contents of a substance abuse policy, employers generally consider including the following in their manuals:
It’s also a good idea to notify employees that the company reserves the right to conduct a drug test (including for marijuana) under appropriate circumstances. Which brings us to crafting a reasonable suspicion testing program.
The key to reasonable suspicion drug testing is first-hand observation of signs of impairment. Managers should be trained on how to recognize and document objective signs of substance abuse that violate the employer’s policy. Beyond that, remember not to lose focus of these key concepts that are too often overlooked:
If you are interested in developing a reasonable suspicion drug testing program as an alternative to routine marijuana testing, you should work with legal counsel to review your company’s substance abuse policy and reasonable suspicion program, training, and forms. Done correctly, this approach can help to mitigate some of the uncertainty posed by Commonwealth’s Medical Marijuana Act.
February 28, 2023
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