A. Regulations Governing Substance Abuse.
1. Purposes. The district recognizes that in order to maintain a safe, effective and productive work environment, it is necessary to identify job applicants and employees who are currently using alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and other drugs that might interfere with job performance.
The purposes of this policy are as follows:
a. To establish and maintain a safe, healthy working environment for all employees.
b. To reduce the incidence of accidental injury to persons or property.
c. To reduce absenteeism, tardiness and indifference to job performance.
d. To provide assistance toward rehabilitation for any employee who seeks the district’s help in overcoming any addiction to, or problem with, alcohol and other drugs.
This policy supplements, but does not replace, disciplinary rules and procedures currently in force relating to the use of alcohol or other drugs or to job performance. (See CVWDC 2.15.070(A).)
“Alcohol” is a drug. It is a central nervous system depressant. Alcohol is the major intoxicating ingredient in beer, wine and distilled liquor.
“Drugs” means any chemical substance which produces physical, mental, emotional or behavioral changes in the user. For purposes of this policy, the word “drugs” includes but is not limited to: alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, PCP, methedrine, LSD, all prescription medications, sedatives and narcotics.
“Illegal drugs” means “drugs” as defined above, the possession or use of which is unlawful pursuant to the laws of the state of California or any federal law or regulation.
“Intoxicating substance” means any substance which produces changes in the physical, mental, emotional state or behavior; for example, glue and paint thinner, in addition to alcohol and other drugs.
3. Preemployment Testing. The district will begin testing job applicants as part of the preemployment medical examination in order to identify those applicants whose current use of drugs could interfere with their prospective job performance.
i. All applications for employment will contain a statement to prospective applicants advising them that the selection procedure includes taking and passing a preemployment medical examination, which includes testing for the presence of drugs or other intoxicating substances.
ii. Applicants who are referred for a preemployment examination will be required to sign consent forms authorizing the substance screening and the release of the test results to the authorized district.
iii. Any applicant who refuses to sign the consent form(s) or to submit to testing will not be considered for employment.
iv. Test results are confidential and will not be released except to appropriate district personnel, the applicant upon written request, or pursuant to court order.
v. Testing will be conducted by a clinical laboratory licensed by the State Department of Health Services or a public health laboratory certified by the state.
vi. Testing will be one of the following forms:
(C) Blood test.
vii. Applicants whose test results are negative for drugs will be deemed to have passed that portion of their medical examination.
viii. Test analysis that results in a positive indication of the presence of drugs will automatically require reanalysis of the original sample by an alternative method.
ix. If the reanalysis reflects a negative indication, the applicant will be deemed to have passed this portion of the medical examination.
x. Where the reanalysis results in a second indication of the presence of an intoxicating substance, the applicant will not be considered for employment but may reapply after a period of one year has expired.
xi. Applicants who are taking medication prescribed by a physician will have so indicated on the examination form and any positive indications related to the presence of that medication will not prohibit employment, if the applicant’s physical condition would not otherwise prevent employment.
4. Employee Substance Abuse Testing.
i. The district recognizes that substance abuse is a national problem and that substance abuse can result in injury, physical and monetary loss, death and human suffering. In response to this problem, the district hereby adopts a policy to help identify employees whose use of alcohol, drugs and other intoxicating substances affects their performance in the work setting.
ii. It is the district’s intention to not only identify employees with substance abuse problems, but also to offer assistance to those employees who are willing to accept help with their problems.
iii. This policy supplements, but does not replace, disciplinary rules and procedures currently in force relating to violations of district policy with regard to the use of drugs or alcohol or to job performance.
b. Procedure. The district will give each new employee a copy of this policy, receipt of which will be acknowledged by signature of each employee, to be kept in the employee’s personnel file.
c. When Testing Will Occur. An employee will be required to submit to a test for the detection of drugs or other intoxicating substances in the following situations:
i. When the employee reports to work and is apparently intoxicated or under the influence of an intoxicating substance; for example, staggers, smells of alcohol, exhibits thick or slurred speech or is incoherent.
ii. Drinks alcoholic beverages or uses drugs while on the job.
iii. When any of the following incidents occur:
(A) An employee is involved in an accident while using a company vehicle.
(B) An employee is involved in an accident which causes injury to persons or property.
(C) An employee exhibits dangerous or bizarre behavior.
(D) An employee is required to submit for testing under the provisions of the Department of Transportation commercial driver’s license program.
(E) If it is clearly determined at the time of the accident the employee was not at fault, the testing may be waived only with prior approval from the human resources director or their designee.
d. Investigation. When any of the above incidents triggers the possibility of requiring the employee to submit to a test, the human resources director should, if at all possible:
i. Make personal contact with the employee to determine if there are factors present that would indicate that the employee may be under the influence of or may have used a drug or intoxicating substance.
ii. Collect and record all facts pertinent to the reasons for suspecting substance use.
iii. If it appears that the employee may be involved in such use of drugs or intoxicating substances, refer to the appropriate party, or, if the employee is injured and being treated for the injury, arrange for a test at the treating facility.
e. Results of Test.
i. If test results are negative, the employee will continue in service.
ii. Test analysis that results in a positive indication of the presence of drugs will automatically require a reanalysis of the original sample by an alternative method. If the test is positive after reanalysis, the employee will either:
(A) Be disciplined pursuant to disciplinary procedures set forth in existing district policy, and/or
(B) Be placed on medical leave of absence until found to be medically fit to return to work.
f. Voluntary Assistance. Alcoholism and drug addiction are treatable illnesses and the district encourages employees to seek professional assistance with substance abuse problems.
In line with this policy, the district hereby adopts the following procedure for those employees who voluntarily seek competent medical assistance:
i. Any employee who requests time off work to enter into a certified substance abuse treatment program such as a hospital or state licensed treatment center will be given a medical leave of absence for a period of up to 30 days.
ii. Cost of the treatment is the employee’s responsibility in conjunction with his/her medical insurance.
iii. An employee will not receive any pay or salary while on medical leave except for accrued sick leave benefits or other disability benefits to which he/she is individually entitled.
iv. An employee on medical leave may return to work upon furnishing a physician’s statement which reflects that the employee is medically fit to return to work.
v. The personnel records of an employee who voluntarily seeks assistance shall not reflect the reason that a medical leave was granted nor shall there be any indication in the personnel file as to any diagnosis, the nature of the problem nor the place or type of treatment sought.
vi. Any information received by the district in regard to an employee who is requesting a leave for this purpose will be kept strictly confidential.
vii. The fact that a district employee has been on leave for treatment of a substance abuse problem shall not affect consideration for future advancement.
viii. An employee may request up to two separate periods of medical leave for substance abuse treatment while employed by the district. After a second leave is granted, the district may refuse to grant additional leave depending upon the medical circumstances of each case.
g. Employee Assistance. The district will make arrangements with a local provider for the services of an employee assistance counselor.
The counselor will be available to management and employees to provide assistance in cases in which substance abuse is detected or suspected, or work performance indicates some type of problem that is affecting job performance. Referral to the employee assistance counselor will be either mandatory or voluntary depending on the circumstances of each case.
h. Procedure for Referral to Employee Assistance Counselor.
i. Human Resources Director. When a supervisor has noted a decline in an employee’s job performance and supervisory action has failed to effect the desired change, a human resources director may refer the employee to the employee assistance counselor for evaluation and recommendation.
(A) The employee assistance counselor will determine if the employee’s poor job performance is due to a substance abuse or other personal problem and will recommend a course of treatment or action as appropriate.
(B) Participation by the employee in the recommended course of treatment is voluntary.
(C) Whether or not the employee enters or completes treatment, the district will take the usual and customary disciplinary steps pursuant to district procedure in the event that job performance does not improve.
(D) The district personnel records will only reflect that as part of establishing better job performance, the employee was referred to the employee assistance counselor and shall not reflect any diagnosis or recommendation unless the employee consents, in writing, to the release of such information.
ii. Self-Referral. Any district employee may contact the employee assistance counselor directly, and in strict confidence, for help with substance abuse.
(A) The employee assistance counselor will assist the employee in terms of evaluation and guidance in obtaining proper treatment.
(B) If the employee and the employee assistance counselor determine that a medical leave of absence is appropriate, the district will grant the leave upon request of either the employee or the employee assistance counselor.
(C) As noted above, no reason need be given for the leave of absence; however, the employee must be actively participating in a recognized program of rehabilitation. (Ord. 1425.13 § 11, 2020; Ord. 1425.12 § 11, 2019)