Policy on Alcohol and Substance Abuse In The Workplace
Responsible Office: Human Resources
Policy Type: Personnel and Payroll
Policy Number: 629
Last Date Revised: 12/16/16This policy reaffirms the standards of Binghamton University regarding the prohibition of drugs and alcohol in the workplace established in compliance with the Federal Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988. It also reflects, in part, compliance with the Federal Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991. It is meant to assist employees in guiding their conduct, which will increase productivity at work, protect co-workers and students, and to hold the University faculty and staff accountable for their performance at work. The policy provides instruction for supervisors when an employee appears to be impaired at work as well as other guidance for a range of issues. These efforts will contribute to a safer work and learning environment for the Binghamton University community.
Beginning on January 1, 1996, the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 (OTETA) mandates that certain employees in safety sensitive positions submit to drug and alcohol testing. Currently, Binghamton University employees whose positions require the possession of a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) are the only employees subject to such testing.
To comply with OTETA, Binghamton University will be performing mandated pre-employment, pre-assignment (promotion), reasonable suspicion, random, follow-up, return to duty and post-accident drug testing of these employees. Post-accident testing is defined under part 383.303 of the Department of Transportation guidelines, (a) As soon as practicable following an occurrence involving a commercial motor vehicle operating on a public road in commerce, each employer shall test for alcohol for each of its surviving drivers: (a)(1) Who was performing safety-sensitive functions with respect to the vehicle, if the accident involved the loss of human life; or (a)(2) Who receives a citation within 8 hours of the occurrence under State or local law for a moving traffic violation arising from the accident, if the accident involved:(a)(2)(i) Bodily injury to any person who, as a result of the injury, immediately receives medical treatment away from the scene of the accident; or (a)(2)(ii) One or more motor vehicles incurring disabling damage as a result of the accident, requiring the motor vehicle to be transported away from the scene by a tow truck or other motor vehicle.(b) As soon as practicable following an occurrence involving a commercial motor vehicle operating on a public road in commerce, each employer shall test for controlled substances for each of its surviving drivers:(b)(1) Who was performing safety-sensitive functions with respect to the vehicle, if the accident involved the loss of human life; or (b)(2) Who receives a citation within thirty-two hours of the occurrence under State or local law for a moving traffic violation arising from the accident, if the accident involved:(b)(2)(i) Bodily injury to any person who, as a result of the injury, immediately receives medical treatment away from the scene of the accident; or (b)(2)(ii) One or more motor vehicles incurring disabling damage as a result of the accident, requiring the motor vehicle to be transported away from the scene by a tow truck or other motor vehicle.(c) The following table notes when a post-accident test is required to be conducted by paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), (b)(1), and (b)(2) of this section. Employees in this status will be notified as to their inclusion in this program on an annual basis (and will also be notified prior to the implementation of the drug and alcohol testing program). Offers of employment will be withdrawn for otherwise qualified applicants to safety sensitive positions who fail or refuse to take drug pre-employment test.
Binghamton University will assist faculty and staff who have a drug or alcohol problem in their recovery provided the employee seeks and/or accepts assistance. However, Binghamton University will take appropriate formal disciplinary action, which can include penalties up to, and including termination of employment in order to resolve drug or alcohol related performance and/or misconduct problems. Employees may be referred to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to aid in dealing with drug and/or alcohol problems. EAP is a confidential information assessment and referral program that provides employee requested services. Services include assessment for referral to the most appropriate community resource provider related to the emotional or physical illness, alcohol or drug related problem. Information provided to EAP is kept confidential. Employees who have drug and alcohol problems who would like to seek rehabilitative services through EAP or any other recognized rehabilitation program are encouraged to pursue help before they are determined to be in violation of the Drug-Free Workplace Act or fail the testing requirements of the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act.
It is the policy of Binghamton University that:
1. No employee shall use, sell, distribute, dispense, possess, or manufacture any alcoholic beverage or illegal drug on the job site, on Binghamton University property (including property leased or rented by Binghamton University), while on duty, in a state vehicle, a vehicle leased or rented for state business, or a private vehicle being used for state business during the employees’ work hours.
2. After January 1, 1996, an employee covered by OTETA and notified of being in a safety sensitive position as defined by the rules of OTETA is further prohibited from the use of alcohol four (4) hours prior to operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV). No supervisor having knowledge that an employee in such a position has used alcohol within four (4) hours shall permit that employee to operate a CMV.
3. No employee shall report for work unfit for duty at the beginning of a shift or upon returning from any break, lunch or rest period, as a result of consuming alcohol and/or illegal drugs. Further, no employee serving in a safety sensitive position as defined by the OTETA shall report to work in a condition that violates the Act and the corresponding rules.
4. While prescription drugs are not prohibited, they should not render an employee unfit for duty. The employee should bring situations of this nature to the attention of the supervisor, especially if the employee’s job responsibilities have an impact on health and safety. These situations are to be addressed confidentially on a case-by-case basis and it may be necessary for the employee to provide certification from their physician that the prescription substance does not adversely impact fitness to do their job.
5. Work-related accidents or injuries involving state vehicles, equipment and/or property where it can be demonstrated that the use of alcohol or drugs may have been a contributing factor will result in formal disciplinary action which can include penalties up to and including termination of employment. In addition, for employees serving in safety sensitive positions covered under OTETA, they shall be required to take post-accident alcohol and drug tests. Employees serving in OTETA covered positions shall not use alcohol for eight (8) hours following an accident or until the employee undergoes the post-accident alcohol test, whichever occurs first.
6. An employee shall notify their supervisor of any criminal drug and/or alcohol statute conviction, which results from a violation occurring no later than five (5) days after the date of conviction (Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988). The supervisor who has been notified of such conviction must inform the Associate Vice President for Human Resources within twenty-four (24) hours of receiving the information from the employee.
7. This provision within this policy applies to employees for whom possession of a valid driver's license is a requirement of their position at the University. Article 19A, Section 509(I) of the NYS Vehicle and Traffic Law states that a driver notified that their license, permit, or privilege to operate a motor vehicle has been revoked, suspended or withdrawn or who is convicted of a violation of such provisions of this chapter as shall constitute a misdemeanor or a felony in any jurisdiction shall notify the motor carrier (supervisor) that employs such person of the contents of the notice before the end of the business day on which it is received. A driver who fails to notify their employer of such suspension, revocation, or conviction or a violation of such provisions of this chapter as shall constitute a misdemeanor or felony shall be subject to a five (5) working day suspension, or a suspension equivalent to the number of working days such driver was not in compliance with this article, whichever is longer.
8. An employee may be directed to undergo medical examination and/or testing under Section 72 of the NYS Civil Service Law, at the expense of Binghamton University if the supervisor suspects that the employee is not able to perform their duties as a result of alcohol or controlled substance related disabilities. Further, employees covered under OTETA serving in safety sensitive positions must undergo alcohol and/or drug testing when the supervisor has “reasonable suspicion” to believe that employee has violated the alcohol and drug prohibitions of the OTETA. A reasonable suspicion must be based on specific reliable observations about the employee’s appearance, behavior, speech, or body odors. Some examples would be: an unsteady gait, the odor of alcohol on the breath, thick or slurring speech, abusive language or behavior, disorientation or lethargy. Other factors to consider include: the employee’s time and attendance pattern, on- the-job accidents, difficulty remembering instructions of conversations, poor relationships with co-workers, supervisors, and other members of the campus community. Usually, reasonable suspicion will be based upon a combination of factors.
9. Violation of the provisions of this "Policy on Alcohol and Substance Abuse in the Workplace" may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment according to the terms of the bargaining unit contract of the specified union involved.
It is the policy of Binghamton University that:
1. Supervisors have a very important role in establishing and perpetuating a productive work environment at the University. As such, they are responsible for determining through direct observation whether an employee is capable of performing the duties assigned. Signs or symptoms of being under the influence of alcohol and drugs include incoherent or belligerent speech, smell of alcohol, difficulty working or erratic or unusual behavior uncommon to the employee.
2. Employees suspected of being unfit for duty may not remain at the workplace since they may represent a danger to themselves, others or University property. Any incidents representing performance problems possibly resulting from the use of drugs and/or alcohol should be documented in writing immediately and a second trained supervisor/manager should be consulted to confirm the observations of the primary supervisor. An employee who is impaired should not be permitted to drive home from the workplace.
3. Once a supervisor has performed due diligence in terms of ascertaining an employee's fitness to do their job and perform their duties, if they remain convinced that the employee is under the influence of drugs/alcohol while at work, they should inform the Office of Human Resources wherein arrangements will be made to assure the employee is transported home. If all other alternatives have been exhausted, a supervisor may allow the employee to be driven home in a state vehicle.
4. The fact that an employee is suspected of being unfit to perform their duties due to the influence of alcohol or drugs is not considered an automatic disciplinary suspension. After an employee is removed from the workplace, the supervisor(s) and manager(s) should discuss with the Office of Human Resources whether disciplinary charges or other administrative actions should be pursued or what actions seem prudent. Often, in the course of disciplinary actions, assistance is sought for the employee through many avenues. Each situation requires a case-by-case review.
5. If an employee displays dangerous, aggressive, or abusive behavior, which constitutes a danger to persons or property and resists voluntarily leaving the workplace, the Office of Human Resources must be contacted immediately to proceed with clearance to suspend the employee under the provisions of the disciplinary procedures of the appropriate union contract. If necessary, the University Police Department should be contacted to assist in the removal of the employee from the workplace since safety is always the first priority.
6. An employee who reports to work unfit for duty and is sent home using sick leave accruals or sick leave without pay may be subject to medical exam at the expense of Binghamton University as a condition of returning to work. In such cases, the appropriate staff of Human Resources should be contacted for advice and assistance.
It is the policy of Binghamton University that:
1. A drug and alcohol free workplace be maintained.
2. Appropriate corrective actions be taken with managers and supervisors who fail to perform the duties and responsibilities outlined in this policy.
3. Managers and supervisors will discuss with employees any behavior or job performance factors that may indicate the use of drugs, alcohol, or other violations of this policy and, when appropriate, suggest that the employee seek help as necessary through EAP.
4. After January 1, 1996, as per OTETA provisions, managers will direct employees in designated safety sensitive positions to mandatory pre-employment, pre-assignment, reasonable suspicion, random, post-accident, return-to-duty, and follow-up testing in accordance with the OTETA.
5. All employees and supervisors understand and comply with the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the OTETA testing procedures. Binghamton University will train or arrange for training for supervisors on how to recognize behaviors of alcohol and/or other drug use.
In summary, it is the policy of Binghamton University that all employees will remain free of any drug and/or alcohol induced impairments while on duty, refrain from the use of illegal drugs and/or alcohol while on duty, and while serving in a designated safety sensitive position, undergo any drug and/or alcohol testing in accordance with the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act.
Associate Vice President for Human Resources, 7-2187
Senior Associate Directors of Human Resources, 7-4939, 7-6613