DRUG AND ALCOHOL
23.1 Drug and Alcohol Policy.
23.1.1 Douglas County has a strong commitment to its employees to provide a
safe work environment and to promote high standards of employee health. The
County also has a strong commitment to provide high quality public service.
Consistent with the spirit and intent of these commitments, the County has
established this policy on drug and alcohol use. The County's goal is to
establish and maintain a work environment that is free from the effects of
alcohol and drug abuse.
The County expects employees
to report to work in a condition that is conducive to performing their duties in
a safe, effective and efficient manner. An employee's off-the-job as well as
on-the-job involvement with drugs and alcohol can have a significant impact on
the workplace and can present a substantial risk to the employee who is using
alcohol and drugs, to coworkers and others.
This rule is intended to
comply with and supplement the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. As a
condition of employment, County employees shall abide by requirements of this
23.1.2 Possession, transfer, use or being under the influence of any
alcoholic liquor while on County property, on County time or in other
circumstances which adversely affect County operations or safety of County
employees or others is prohibited. The conduct prohibited by this rule includes
consumption of any intoxicating liquor within four hours of reporting to
work or during breaks or lunch period. If use of alcoholic liquor or an alcohol
hangover adversely affects an employee's physical or mental faculties while at
work to any perceptible degree or the employee's blood alcohol content exceeds
.02 percent, the employee will be deemed "under the influence" for purposes of
23.1.3 Possession, distribution, dispensing, sale, attempted sale, use,
manufacture or being under the influence of any narcotic, hallucinogen,
stimulant, sedative, drug or other controlled substance while on County
property, on County time or in other circumstances which adversely affect County
operations or safety of County employees or others is prohibited. The conduct
prohibited by this rule includes consumption of any such substance prior
to reporting to work or during breaks or lunch period. If use of such
substances or withdrawal symptoms adversely affects an employee's physical or
mental faculties while at work to any perceptible degree, or the employee tests
"positive" for any such substances by screening and confirmation tests, the
employee will be deemed "under the influence" for purposes of this rule. As
used in this rule, "controlled substance" includes, but is not limited to, any
controlled substance listed in Schedules I through V of the Federal Controlled
With the exception of
medical marijuana, nothing in this rule is intended to prohibit the use of a
drug taken under supervision by a licensed health care professional, where its
use does not present a safety hazard or otherwise adversely impact an employee's
performance or county operations (see Personnel Rule 23.1.19).
The use of marijuana, which
is a Schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law, is expressly prohibited
under this policy, even if its medical use is authorized under state law.
23.1.4 If there is reasonable cause to suspect that an employee is under the
influence of controlled substances or alcohol during work hours, the County may
require the employee to undergo testing for controlled substances or alcoholic
liquor including, but not limited to, job impairment field tests,
psychoneurological examinations, breathalyzer and laboratory tests of saliva,
blood and urine. As used in this rule, unless the context indicates otherwise,
the terms "test" and "testing" shall be construed to mean job impairment field
tests, laboratory tests, breathalyzer tests, psychoneurological examinations and
other tests for determining whether an employee is under the influence of
alcohol or controlled substances. No testing shall be performed under this rule
without the approval of the Human Resources Director or the Human Resources
Director's designee. Failure to undergo testing upon request of the Human
Resources Director is grounds for discipline.
23.1.5 An employee whose initial laboratory screening test for controlled
substances yields a positive result shall be given a second test using a gas
chromatography/mass spectrometry (GS/MS) test. The second test shall use a
portion of the same test sample withdrawn from the employee for use in the
initial screening test. If the second test confirms the initial positive test
result, the employee shall be notified of the results in writing by the
appropriate department head or designee. The letter of notification shall state
the particular substance identified by the laboratory tests.
23.1.6 When reasonable cause exists to believe an employee has possession of
alcohol or controlled substance on County property, or has otherwise violated
provisions of this rule regarding possession, sale or use of controlled
substances or alcoholic liquor, the County may search the employee's possessions
located on County property, including but not limited to, clothes, locker,
lunchbox, toolbox, desk, car.
23.1.7 If the Human Resources Director finds that tests or other evidence
support a conclusion that an employee has violated section 23.1.2 or section
23.1.3 of these rules, the appropriate department head or designee shall be
notified of the results.
23.1.8 "Reasonable cause" as used in sections 23.1.4 and 23.1.6 means an
articulable belief based on specific facts and reasonable inferences drawn from
those facts that an employee is more likely than not under the influence of
controlled substances or alcohol. Circumstances which can constitute a basis
for determining "reasonable cause" may include, but are not limited to:
18.104.22.168 a pattern of
abnormal or erratic behavior;
provided by a reliable and credible source;
22.214.171.124 a work-related
126.96.36.199 direct observation
of drug or alcohol use;
188.8.131.52 presence of the
physical symptoms of drug or alcohol use (i.e., glassy or bloodshot eyes,
alcohol odor on breath, slurred speech, poor coordination and/or reflexes);
significant deterioration in individual job performance;
184.108.40.206 unexplained or
suspicious absenteeism or tardiness;
admissions regarding drug or alcohol use; and
absences from normal work areas where there is reason to suspect drug or alcohol
23.1.9 Supervisors are required to detail in writing the specific facts,
symptoms or observations which form the basis for their determination that
reasonable cause exists to warrant alcohol or controlled substance testing of an
employee or a search. This documentation shall be forwarded to the appropriate
department head and the Human Resources Director.
The County shall develop a
program of training to assist supervisory personnel in identifying drug and
alcohol use among employees. Such training will be directed towards helping
supervisors recognize the conduct and behavior that give rise to a reasonable
suspicion of drug or alcohol use.
23.1.10 Before a test is administered or a search is conducted, employees and
job applicants will be asked to sign a consent form authorizing the test or
search and permitting release of test or search results to those County
officials with a need to know. The consent form shall provide space for
employees and applicants to acknowledge that they have been notified of the
County's drug and alcohol policy and to indicate current or recent use of
prescription or over-the-counter medication.
The consent form shall also
set forth the following information:
procedure for confirming an initial positive laboratory test result;
consequences of adverse test results;
right to explain a test result and the appeal procedures available; and
consequences of refusing to undergo a test.
23.1.11 An employee who refuses to consent to a test or a search when there is
reasonable cause to suspect that the employee has violated sections 23.1.2 or
23.1.3 of this rule is subject to disciplinary action up to and including
termination. The reasons for the refusal shall be considered in determining the
appropriate disciplinary action.
23.1.12 If the department head determines that an employee has violated
sections 23.1.2 or 23.1.3 of this rule, the employee is subject to disciplinary
action under Rule 12 up to and including termination. The employee shall be
notified of the Human Resources Director's conclusion under section 23.1.7 in
writing by the appropriate department head or designee. The letter of
notification shall state the reasons for the conclusion of the Human Resources
Director and identify the particular substance found. Factors to be considered
in determining the appropriate disciplinary response include the employee's work
history, length of employment, the adverse effects that use of alcohol or
controlled substances have on job performance, the existence of past
disciplinary actions and the policy stated in Rule 23.1.1.
23.1.13 Employees shall report any criminal conviction, or entry into Adrug
court@ or similar diversion program, for drug-related activity within five days.
Failure to report as required will result in disciplinary action up to and
23.1.14 The County recognizes that alcohol and drug use may be a sign of
chemical dependency and that employees with alcohol and drug problems can be
successfully treated. The County is willing to help such employees identify
drug or alcohol-related problems and obtain appropriate treatment.
An employee who believes
that he or she has a problem involving the use of alcohol or drugs should ask a
supervisor or the Human Resources Department for assistance.
The County will work with an
employee to identify all benefits and benefit programs that may be available to
help deal with the problem. Any continuing rehabilitation treatment will be a
shared financial responsibility of the employee and the County, through its
Employee Assistance Service and its existing benefits package.
Although the County
recognizes that alcohol and drug abuse can be successfully treated and is
willing to work with employees who may suffer from such problems, it is the
employee's responsibility to seek assistance before drug or alcohol problems
lead to disciplinary action. No disciplinary action may be taken against
employees who voluntarily identify themselves as drug abusers or alcoholics
obtain counseling and rehabilitation through the County's Employee Assistance
Service, and thereafter refrain from violating the County's policy on drug and
alcohol abuse. Once a violation of County policy is discovered by the County
without voluntary disclosure by the employee who commits the violation, the
employee's willingness to seek County or outside assistance will not "excuse"
the violation and generally will have no bearing on the determination of
appropriate disciplinary action.
23.1.15 Last Chance Agreement: An agreement whereby an employee who would
otherwise be terminated is provided an opportunity to address their performance
or safety issues. Violation of the provisions of a Last Chance Agreement shall
result in immediate termination of the employee, notwithstanding the provisions
of any other personnel rule. If, in the discretion of the Human Resources
Director in consultation with the Department Head, it appears to be in the best
interests of the County to offer an employee who would otherwise be subject to
termination an opportunity to address his or her performance or safety issues,
that employee shall be advised of such and referred to the Employee Assistance
Service to determine if counseling or treatment would be beneficial.
The Last Chance Agreement
shall be written to inform the employee of the problems noted with their
performance and to specify the performance required for the employee to achieve
in order to continue to be employed by the County. If the Employee Assistance
Service recommends counseling or treatment, the Last Chance Agreement shall
specify that the employee shall enroll in, and successfully complete, the
treatment and aftercare, if any, recommended by the Employee Assistance Service.
A Last Chance Agreement which has a treatment or counseling component shall
also contain a provision that the employee shall sign all necessary releases of
information to allow any treatment or aftercare provider to inform the Director
of Human Resources whether the employee is complying with treatment plans or
aftercare and whether the employee is successfully completing the treatment or
counseling. The employee shall also sign all necessary releases to allow the
Human Resources Director to communicate with the employee=s Department Head,
County Counsel, or other persons, if necessary, to effectuate the purposes of
the Last Chance Agreement.
The employee shall also sign
a statement that the employee understands they have engaged in personnel rule
violations which would otherwise result in termination of county employment, and
the consideration for entering into and achieving the desired results as
specified by the criteria of the Last Chance Agreement was continued employment
under those terms. This statement shall also contain a provision that the
employee understands that, if the desired results are not achieved in the time
period allotted within the Last Chance Agreement, the employee shall be
terminated with no right of appeal.
23.1.16 Upon an offer of employment and prior to final appointment every
applicant for County employment in a sensitive position will be asked to consent
to a controlled substance screening test in accordance with section 23.1.10 of
this rule. If the initial screening test yields a positive result, the
laboratory will automatically have a confirmation test conducted using the same
sample. If the initial screening test indicates that the applicant has recently
used controlled substances, the applicant will be notified of the test results.
If the applicant refuses to consent to a test or if testing indicates use of
controlled substances, the offer of employment will be retracted, and the
applicant will be denied employment with the County. Applicants shall be
informed in writing if they are rejected on the basis of test results.
The term "sensitive
position" means an employee whose duties directly affect public health or
safety, including, but not limited to, duties involving:
Access to truly sensitive information;
Possession or use of firearms;
enforcement or corrections;
Design, manufacture, test and evaluation, or maintenance of aircraft, vessels,
vehicles, trucks, heavy equipment, munitions, toxic materials, weapons, weapons
systems, or potentially dangerous equipment, materials or applications (such as
explosives, unstable chemicals, or medical equipment with potentially life
Frequent control, operation or use of aircraft, vessels, vehicles, trucks, heavy
equipment, toxic materials, munitions, weapons, weapon systems, or potentially
dangerous equipment, materials or applications (such as explosives, unstable
chemicals, or medical equipment with potentially life threatening consequences);
220.127.116.11 Transportation, storage or protection of toxic materials,
munitions, or potentially dangerous materials (such as explosives or unstable
Firefighting or emergency services;
Direct treatment or rehabilitation of substance abusers; or
Substantial responsibility for investigation or prosecution of drug cases.
23.1.17 All information from an employee's or applicant's drug and alcohol
evaluation is confidential and only those with a need to know are to be informed
of test results. Disclosure of such information to any other person, agency, or
organization is prohibited unless written authorization is obtained from the
employee or applicant.
23.1.18 The County shall provide written notice of its drug and alcohol policy
to all employees. The notice shall state:
need for a workplace free from the effects of alcohol and drug abuse;
18.104.22.168 as a
condition of employment, all employees shall abide by this rule, including but
not limited to, the requirement for reporting any criminal conviction for drug
related activity in the workplace within five days after the conviction;
need for alcohol and drug testing;
circumstances under which testing may be required;
procedure for confirming positive test result;
consequences of a confirmed positive test result;
consequences of refusing to undergo a drug or alcohol test;
right to explain a positive test result and the appeal procedures available; and
availability of drug and alcohol abuse counseling and referral services.
23.1.19 Sections 23.1.2 and 23.1.3 shall not apply to use of drugs for which
employees have valid prescriptions (including drugs provided directly by a
physician). However, employees shall inform their supervisor about any
prescription drugs that they are using which could adversely affect their
physical or mental faculties to any perceptible degree. If an employee's use of
such prescription drugs could adversely affect County operations or safety of
County employees or other persons, the County may reassign the employee using
the drugs to other work or take other appropriate action to accommodate the
physical or mental effects of the medication. Failure to report use of
prescription drugs covered by this rule will subject an employee to disciplinary
action, up to and including termination.
23.1.20 Employees shall participate in the County's ongoing drug and alcohol
awareness program as directed by Board of County Commissioners.