Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988?
The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 is legislation that requires some Federal contractors and all Federal grantees to agree that they will provide drug-free workplaces as a condition of receiving a contract or grant from a Federal agency. The DOL does not regulate the Drug-Free Workplace Act, but the Drug-Free Workplace Advisor provides information about the Act based on the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) government-wide non-regulatory guidance and can help employers determine whether or not the Act applies to them and, if so, what specifically is required.

What is a "drug free" workplace?

The term “drug-free workplace” is used generally to describe employer-sponsored substance abuse prevention programs. A comprehensive drug-free workplace program generally includes five components: a drug-free workplace policy, supervisor training, employee education, employee assistance, and drug testing.

Although employers may choose not to include all five components, it is recommended that all be explored and considered when developing a drug-free workplace program. Research does show a positive relationship between the number of components included and a program’s overall effectiveness.

However, it should be noted that drug testing is only one part of a comprehensive drug-free workplace program and may not be necessary or appropriate for many work sites.

Can I drug test?

Most private employers have the right to test for a wide variety of substances. However, it is important that employers familiarize themselves with the various state and Federal laws that may apply the their business or organization before designing a drug-testing policy.

The majority of employers across the US are not required to test, and many state and local governments have statutes that limit or prohibit workplace testing unless it is required by state or Federal regulations for certain jobs. Drug-testing policies protect both employees and employers.

It is important for employers to note that drug testing without a drug-testing policy–even if an employee is suspected of having substance abuse problems–exposes them to a number of significant liability and legal vulnerabilities.