Home Six Reminders for Hiring (Drug-Free) Summer Help

Six Reminders for Hiring (Drug-Free) Summer Help

(May 2022) With summer right around the corner, many employers are getting ready to hire additional employees to get through their upcoming busy season. Yet, while summer may be the time to get extra help, it’s not the time to take a vacation from running an effective drug-free workplace program.

As you prepare to bring on your seasonal workers, here are six items to think through regarding your drug-free workplace policy and program:

  1. Who’s covered? Review what your drug-free workplace policy says about seasonal employees. If, for example, you hire contractors who won’t be issued a W-2, they might not be subject to your policy. And, what about unpaid interns or those who will be put on your payroll but will be working limited hours? Knowing how your policy applies to your seasonal workers will help you be prepared before you bring them on board.
  2. To test or not to test? If you do pre-employment testing, you will need to test your seasonal help unless you have exempted them from this part of your program. On the other hand, if your policy contains new-hire testing (i.e., testing that occurs during the new-hire period versus before hire), you may not have to test summer employees if they will leave before the end of your designated new-hire period. The good thing about new hire vs. pre-employment testing is you do not have to test short-term employees. The bad thing is that you are not testing short-term employees. A seasonal worker who misuses alcohol and other drugs can cause as much havoc as one you’ve hired to be with you for a while.
  3. Take time to educate? If your seasonal hires will be covered by your policy – especially if they will be tested – you’ll want to educate them about that policy. Obviously, a one-hour drug-free education session explaining your program is ideal. And if you’re in Ohio’s Drug-Free Safety Program (DFSP), employees are required to receive that education within their first eight weeks on the job.

Remember, it’s possible that a new employee could have an accident their first day on the job that warrants a drug test. So, at minimum, make sure your seasonal workers subject to testing get a copy of your policy, that you explain some of the key points (e.g., the rules and when they can be tested) and have them sign your policy-related forms.

  1. Under 18 years old? Like most of your standard new-hire paperwork, if you hire an employee under 18 years old, you will need a parental or guardian’s signature on many of your DFWP-related forms, including your testing consent form. And make sure to think through how you will respond if you’re asked for the results of a minor’s drug or alcohol test. It’s a tricky situation and might warrant a call with your attorney.
  2. ¿Habla español? Your drug-free workplace policy is a legal document and gives “fair notice” for when employees will be tested, what happens if they test positive, your expectations around prescription medication and alcohol use and how they can access assistance if needed. You need to make sure your new employees understand your policy. Therefore, if English isn’t their first language, you may want to consider translating your documents and education sessions so you know nothing is getting “lost in translation.”
  3. Party time? If you are planning a social gathering for your employees this summer, be sure to follow your policy concerning alcohol consumption. In addition to having fun, your primary goal should be preventing high-risk drinking that could result in problems for both the employee and potentially for you. Remember, you could be held liable for damages caused by an employee if it can be shown that the company had anything to do with the gathering.

So, with these six things in mind, go forth and flourish in your summer hiring while keeping your drug-free workplace program running consistently and efficiently.