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Drug-Free Workplace Act

By: Nadia Rivera


History
The concept of a Drug Free Workplace began in 1914. It was at this time that the
Ford Motor Company established sobriety programs in the company's plants. The next
step from here was when Ronald Reagan signed the Executive Order 12564. This banned
the use of drugs both on and off duty for federal government employees. This order
resulted in the Drug-free Workplace Act of 1988.

Details
In 1986 that the government recognized that drug use was having a serious
adverse effect on the workforce and the billions of dollar that was lost in productivity
each year. It was estimated that even at this time that there were billions of dollars being
lost each year on due to a loss of productivity. It was at this time that the federal
government, as an employer, decided to make a step towards becoming a drug-free
workplace. This executive order led to the Drug-Free Workplace Act, which defined a
"drug-free workplace" as a site where work is done and an entity in which employees are
prohibited from engaging in the manufacture, distribution or possession.

Enacted
This law, enacted November 1988, with subsequent modification in 1994 by the
Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act. The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires
some Federal contractors and all Federal grantees to agree that they will provide drugfree workplaces as a condition of receiving a contract or grant from a Federal agency.
The Act does not apply to those who do not have, nor intend to apply for, contracts/grants
from the Federal government. The Act also does not apply to subcontractors or sub
grantees.

Impacted on whom?
Any person who works on any activity under the grant or contract, and who is on
the payroll, is considered to be a covered employee, even if not paid from grant or
contract funds. A temporary employee is covered if he or she meets these criteria. A
volunteer is someone who is not on the payroll, and hence is not covered under the rule.
So basically anyone who works in a Drug-Free workplace is directed to this Act which is
any and every workplace.

Penalties
Compliance is checked as part of normal Federal contract and grant
administration and auditing procedures. The regulation requires only that, in case of a
conviction for a criminal drug offense resulting from a violation occurring in the
workplace, the employer take one of two types of action. The employer may take
disciplinary action (which may be termination or a less severe penalty) or may refer the
employee for rehabilitation or drug abuse assistance program. The choice of which basic

course to choose, as well as the specific discipline or treatment option, is left to the
employers discretion and may be on a case-by-case basisprovided all state and local
laws are followed.

Current story/ situation


A New Challenge for Drug-Free Workplace Programs
By Robert L. DuPont, David M. Martin, Gregory E. Skipper
Feb 01, 2012
Drug testing has evolved into a high-technology industry in the United States, one
that has produced dramatic advances that allow easier and more accurate, sensitive, and
specific testing. There are many settings in which the identification of drug use is
important to enhance public health and safety, including the transportation industry, law
enforcement, health care, the military, the nuclear power industry, and many other
"safety-sensitive" industries.
Workplace drug testing also has expanded to non-safety sensitive industries, such
as retail and commercial workplaces, to reduce theft, accidents, and lost productivity.
Drug testing is vital for identification, treatment, and monitoring of those with addictions.
Drug testing became common in the workplace with the implementation of
federal drug test requirements of the late 1980s. Although these regulations applied only
to federally mandated drug and alcohol testing, they were widely used as a model for
unregulated workplace programs. They focused on testing for five illegal drugs of abuse
in urine: opiates/heroin, cocaine, marijuana, PCP, and amphetamines. While these federal
regulations have been useful, it is past time to update workplace drug testing in the face
of rapidly changing drug epidemic and rapidly evolving testing technology.
Today, many of the most commonly abused drugs are not included in federally
mandated -- and many other -- drug testing programs. Prescription drug abuse is the
fastest-growing drug problem in the United States. It will continue to spread
internationally, as will abuse of synthetic drugs. Current drug testing programs, following
the lead of federal programs, do not identify most nonmedical prescription and synthetic
drug use, leaving many illegal drug users undetected and a safety threat to themselves, to
the workplace, and to the public.