Drug-Free Workplace Act in Massachusetts: What Employers Need to Know

As an employer in Massachusetts, it is crucial to understand the laws regarding a drug-free workplace. This includes knowing the Drug-Free Workplace Act (DFWA), which outlines the responsibilities of employers in keeping their workplaces drug-free. In this blog post, we will explore what DFWA is and what employers need to know to remain compliant.

What is DFWA?

The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 was passed at the federal level to encourage employers to maintain drug-free workplaces. The act prohibits federal contractors and grantees from using drugs or providing drug-related activities while at work. It also requires employers to establish policies to ensure a drug-free workplace.

While the federal DFWA does not apply to all employers, Massachusetts has its own version of the act, called The Controlled Substances Testing Law, which is more extensive than the federal act. The Massachusetts act applies to all public and private employers, regardless of size or contract status, and requires comprehensive drug and alcohol policies and testing programs.

What Employers Need to Know

To comply with DFWA, employers must know and understand the following:

Employers Should Develop a Written Policy

As a Massachusetts employer, it is required that you have a comprehensive drug and alcohol policy that outlines the rules and regulations of your drug-free workplace. This policy should include the following points:

  • A statement regarding your company’s commitment to a drug-free workplace
  • A clear explanation of prohibited drug use
  • Employee responsibilities and expectations
  • Types of drug testing conducted (pre-employment, post-accident, random, etc.)
  • The consequences of violating the company’s drug and alcohol policy

It’s important to note that the policy should comply with Massachusetts’ laws and regulations. Your legal team can help you develop a policy that meets these requirements.

Employers Should Provide Training

Employers are required to provide drug and alcohol training to employees. This training should include information regarding the employer’s drug-free workplace policy, the effects of drug use, and how drug use can impact workplace safety. Additionally, employers should provide employees with information on their rights and responsibilities, as well as an understanding of consequences if noncompliance occurs.

Employers Must Maintain Confidentiality

Drug test results are considered medical records and are therefore protected by privacy laws, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Employers must keep drug test results confidential and only share them with designated personnel who need to know, such as a human resources representative. The results should not be shared with anyone who is not authorized to access the information.

Employers Should Ensure Consistent Enforcement

Employers must make an effort to ensure that their drug and alcohol policies are enforced consistently across the board. Employees who violate the drug-free workplace policy should be subject to the same consequences, regardless of status or position. This ensures that all employees are held accountable and know what to expect if a violation occurs.

Employers Must Remain Up-to-Date on Regulations

As with any law, regulations regarding drug and alcohol policies and testing can change over time. It’s important to stay informed and up-to-date on any changes that occur regarding DFWA. Your legal team can help you stay informed and ensure your policies and procedures remain compliant.

Employers in Massachusetts must adhere to the state’s Controlled Substances Testing Law to maintain a drug-free workplace. This requires developing a comprehensive policy, providing training, maintaining confidentiality, and enforcing the policy consistently. As an employer, it’s essential to understand the laws and regulations of DFWA to stay compliant and promote workplace safety. If you need help developing a drug-free workplace policy or ensuring compliance with The Controlled Substances Testing Law, contact Cutler Law Boston today.

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