Below is a guest post by freelance writer Aimee Claire.
Alcohol and drug abuse by employees has become a major concern for companies and employers throughout the state of Louisiana. There are an increasing number of job applicants and employees attempting to take on employment or to work at a job while dealing with these serious personal issues.
While resolved substance abuse issues should not impede an applicant or employee from pursuing a job, unresolved substance abuse issues can be very costly for a company or employer. The increased risk of job-related injuries, damage to equipment and decreased productivity, as well as unscheduled absences from work can result in customer complaints and even lawsuits: hefty insurance premium increases for the employer or company can be the result.
Workplace drug testing programs have been implemented as a solution to these issues. The benefits of implementing a drug testing policy, both for pre-employment screening and periodic employee testing, are numerous. In addition to the increase in productivity and decrease in the risk of accidents, absenteeism and potential theft, drug testing programs can make employers and companies eligible for state and federal incentives, including tax credits and insurance discounts.
If you are an employer or company representative looking to implement a new drug testing program or a prospective job applicant or employee interested in knowing the requirements and limitations of a drug testing policy, information and resources may be found regarding drug testing here.
Workplace drug testing laws in Louisiana
In the state of Louisiana, employers are permitted by law to require job applicants to submit to drug screening as a part of the employment process. With the exception of industries involving oil drilling, exploration and production, employers are permitted to test employees for drugs and may take action against an employee based on the results of the test, including suspension and dismissal. If the hiring or firing of an employee will be based in any way on the results of a drug test, employers are required to use specified testing procedures and certified testing laboratories. While the state of Louisiana does not limit the types of testing that may be utilized, state law does specify certain requirements for drug testing procedures, including the use of a DHHS-certified lab.
Drug testing laws also stipulate what benefits, if any, may be denied to employees who are discharged for drug-related misconduct or who have caused injury to themselves or others on the job while under the influence of a substance. Drug-related misconduct includes being under the influence of a drug on the job, as well as any use while off the job that has been proven through the results of a positive drug test. Refusing to take a drug test when asked also qualifies as misconduct.
In the case of an on-the-job accident or incident, benefits may be denied if a positive drug or alcohol test verifies the presumption that the accident or incident occurred while the employee was intoxicated at work. Drug testing may and should be conducted immediately following the accident or incident.
The state of Louisiana offers incentives for employers and companies to implement drug testing policies. The Employer Tax Credit law provides for a state income tax credit for employers; employers may get a five percent credit for any expenses related to substance abuse testing and treatment services.