Alcohol may be a fun legal substance when enjoyed responsibly, but drinking on the job is nearly always grounds for termination. When you consider that employees with an alcohol issue are nearly 3 times more likely to have a workplace accident, it’s no surprise that most employers implement strict policies in regards to at-work intoxication. According to Facing Addiction with NCAAD, about 25 percent of workers admitted to drinking on the job at least once, so it makes sense that companies are taking extra measures to reduce the serious risks.
Whether you’re an employee or an employer, understanding how alcohol testing is performed for a job can help you know when testing might occur, employees’ rights in regard to testing, and exactly what the process looks like.
Florida Laws for Workplace Alcohol Testing
According to Florida law, companies are legally allowed to require employees to complete regular alcohol testing as a condition of employment, provided that they give all employees (and applicants) a written alcohol and drug policy statement that outlines the company’s specific rules and procedures. Employees do have the right to confidentiality and professionally-administered testing, but can be disciplined or terminated if they fail or refuse to submit to the test (with a few exceptions). Job candidates can also be rejected on the grounds of a failed or refused alcohol test.
When Do Alcohol Tests at Work Usually Occur?
There are a variety of situations in which an employer may request an employee complete an alcohol test, including:
- As part of the hiring process, including as a condition of employment
- After an accident or incident
- Reasonable suspicion of intoxication at work
- Post-rehabilitation to confirm sobriety
- At random
Alcohol testing is mandatory for certain job roles under federal or state law. For example, positions that relate to public safety, such as jobs in the aviation, trucking, and railroad industries, are subject to Department of Transportation (DOT) testing regulations.
How Do Alcohol Tests Work?
While there are several types of alcohol test methods, each one essentially serves to detect the presence of alcohol in the body. Here are the most common types of alcohol tests and how each one works:
- A urine test analyzes a urine sample for the chemical residue that is left after alcohol use. This test can detect alcohol use 72 to 80 hours back.
- A breath test device (such as a Breathalyzer) measures the alcohol content in your breath and then uses that information to accurately calculate your blood alcohol content. This detects alcohol can only detect use up to 6-8 hours back at most. For post-accident testing, it is best to test the employee no later than 2-4 hours after the incident.
- A blood test directly analyzes a blood sample for the presence of alcohol. This has the same timeline as the breath alcohol testing if directly testing for ethanol.
- Another blood test called the PETH test, tests for another metabolite of alcohol and can detect “risky” behavior (over .08 drinking) for up to 3 weeks back. This test is not typically used in the workplace.
Employees’ Rights for Alcohol Testing
It’s important to know that under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), alcoholism can qualify as a disability. This means that employers may be required to allow reasonable accommodation for the employee to attend rehabilitation, but do not have to tolerate workplace intoxication, diminished performance, or negative behaviors.
Workplace Alcohol Testing in Fort Myers, FL
ARCpoint Labs is a professional provider of drug and alcohol testing, with a specific range of services tailored to fit the needs of employers. When you choose ARCpoint Labs of Fort Myers, you’ll have the option of convenient, on-site testing at your place of business, eliminating any hassle or potential delay. Our professional technicians process every test according to the highest industry standards, and you can be confident that results are legally admissible and accurate.
Contact ARCpoint Labs of Fort Myers today and let us deliver the alcohol testing solutions you need to maintain a safe, positive, and productive workplace.