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Ohio drug testing laws
For purposes of the Drug-Free Workplace Services Program, drug or alcohol “abuse” means:
- any use of an illegal drug;
- intentional misuse of any over-the-counter drug in cases where such misuse impairs job performance;
- use of any prescription drug in a manner inconsistent with its medically prescribed intended use;
- use of alcohol where such use impairs job performance; or
- intentional and inappropriate use of any substance, legal or illegal, which impairs job performance.
The Ohio Fair Employment Practice Law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, ancestry, and sex (OH Rev. Code Sec. 4112.01). Although drug addiction and alcoholism can sometimes be classified as a disability, the law states that an employer is entitled to:
- prohibit the illegal use of drugs and the use of alcohol in the workplace by employees;
- require that employees not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while at work;
- hold an employee who engages in the illegal use of drugs or the use of alcohol to the same qualification standards for employment or job performance to which the employer holds other employees, even if any unsatisfactory performance or behavior is related to the employee’s alcoholism or illegal use of a controlled substance;
- implement a drug-testing program.
The law does not encourage, prohibit, or authorize testing for the illegal use of any controlled substance by employees or applicants, or making employment decisions based on the results of that type of testing. The law specifically exempts current drug users from its protection. However, it does protect individuals as disabled who:
- have successfully completed a supervised drug rehabilitation program and are no longer illegally using any controlled substance;
- have participated in a supervised drug rehabilitation program and are no longer engaged in the illegal use of any
- are erroneously regarded as engaging in the illegal use of any controlled substance.
Applicant testing is authorized with advance notice to applicant and after an offer of employment has been made. An applicant who tests and is confirmed positive will not be hired. He or she will be given the chance to explain the positive drug results. Applicants for government jobs will not be hired for at least a year if they test positive.
- Employee Testing: Employee testing is authorized on reasonable suspicion of substance abuse, for new hires, after an accident, and as follow-up to a treatment program.
- Conditions & Methods: Employers must keep documentation which shows the chain of custody of positive tests. Laboratory personnel must check each specimen package for evidence of tampering. Additionally, employers must have a written policy stating they are maintaining a drug-free workplace.
- Important Bullet Points: In compliance with the provisions outlined in the Drug-Free Workplace Program, employers must pay for drug and alcohol testing. The only exception is for employee-requested retests, which is at the employee’s expense unless the results come out negative. In the event a retest is negative, the employer must pay for the cost.
The key components of the Drug-Free Workplace Program include a written compliant policy statement, employee education, supervisor training, a five-panel drug and alcohol test consistent with federal standards, and an employee assistance plan.
Should an accident or injury occur at work and it is suspected that the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, post-accident drug testing must be administered within eight hours of the incident for if searching for signs of alcohol. For controlled substances, the qualifying test must be conducted within thirty-two hours of the incident.If an employer provides written notice to an employee that drug testing will be happening in the near future and the employee tests positive or refuses to take a drugs test, it can affect that employees eligibility to receive workers’ compensation.
State contractors working on public improvement projects, as well as their subcontractors, are required to enroll and be in good standing with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s Drug-Free Workplace Program or similar programs approved by the Bureau. Noncompliance results in a breach of contract, which may cause the contractors and subcontractors in violation to be negatively evaluated in future contracts for up to a period of five years.
If an employer randomly tests of a minimum of 15 percent of their employees annually, they may be eligible to receive federal discounts. These employers should also then be committed not terminating an employee with a first-time positive test result, who voluntarily admits his or her substance abuse trouble, or has received a referral for an assessment by a supervisor.
Alcohol testing methods
- All procedures and protocols for the collection and testing of an employee’s breath for alcohol shall conform to the methods and procedures set forth in federal regulations, governing collective bargaining agreements or, in the absence of such regulations or agreements, by the director of the department of administrative services.
- Test results shall be reported to the agency head within twenty-four hours of receipt of the result by the drug-free workplace services program.
- The agency head shall provide to the department of administrative services’ drug-free workplace program a monthly statistical summary of all alcohol breath testing information, including the number of employees tested and the results of that testing. This information shall be forwarded no later than fourteen calendar days after the end of the month covered by the summary.
Drug testing methods
- The initial drug testing protocol for state employees and applicants for state employment shall use a technique which meets federal department of health and human services requirements. Drug classes shall be those established by the federal department of health and human services.
- Initial test methodology and test levels for other drugs shall be added to the testing protocol as deemed necessary by the director of the department of administrative services or as required by federal law.