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The company I'm currently working for is asking for all team leads - which includes me - to break some policy changes for our teams.

Our boss wants to introduce a new policy for surprise drug testing. From time to time, when she feels like, she will order a few employees to be tested for drugs. People that test positive will be fired unless they can produce evidence of medical need for those drugs.

This week, the Summer Break for several universities hit its end, and a lot of people are going back to their classes. This creates a scenario extremely lucrative for drug dealers and similar types, which use this back-to-class period to introduce drugs for a batch of potential new users.

Our job is relatively sensitive and deals with a lot of numbers. Being actively under the influence may cause mistakes that can cost a lot of money or, sometimes, lives.

The other team leads and I are discussing a way to present this new policy to our subordinates. Our idea is to call everyone to a single place, probably our parking lot, and break the news at once to everyone using few words and being the most direct possible. A couple of colleagues are worried that this may cause unrest, however.

We would just be doing the regular tests to check for recent usage. Everyone, including the CEO and the managers, will be subjected to it.

The drug test will include both a blood test and a urine test.

Also, we already got legal and union approval to do this type of tests. This is not something done out of the blue - while most employees know nothing about it, it's something that's been on our blackboard for quite some time.

What is the best way to break the news of that mandatory, periodic surprise drug-testing is becoming a part of our policy, without creating employee unrest?


THIRD UPDATE:

Thanks for all the input!

My CEO spent the night with me and the other team leads and managers discussing this up to 4am over Skype. She read everything you guys wrote here and took the comments very seriously.

She was a bit surprised by some negative reactions, and after some thought she decided to change the policy to something way less aggressive. Instead of punishing drug users using drug tests as a tool, she will create a drug-free campaign that will be opt-in and will give benefits for those that sign up for it.

The mechanics will be a bit different, including a test with a random date each quarter with the possibility of a second, surprise test on the same period. Each quarter that the person comes out clean will give them a stacking 3% bonus on their monthly pay, up to a limit of 15%. Getting a positive for illicit drugs (or licit ones that the employee doesn't have the prescription for) removes the bonus, but it starts stacking up once again on the next quarter.

Just signing up for the program will also grant a small bonus each month to be spent on food and snacks.

The program will also include a extra PTO day for the employee for each test undertaken.

We believe that offering some bonuses like that may actually hype the people for the program, instead of making them resent it. We will study it a bit more, but this is the draft we came out with last night.

Again, thanks for all the input!

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    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – enderland Mar 13 '17 at 22:21
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    'Each quarter that the person comes out clean will give them a stacking 3% bonus on their monthly pay, up to a limit of 15%' - Where do I sign up? – Rob Mar 17 '17 at 8:26
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    In which country is this legal? – Carsten S Mar 17 '17 at 9:29
  • Up to 15% of their monthly pay? Except if drug abuse is endemic in your location, or if your company is under very specific circumstances, most people don't take drug at all (or can quit easily). Isn't your company offering a 15% pay raise to most of the staff?? – Taladris Mar 17 '17 at 11:13
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    @Taladris Unfortunately it is an endemic situation. On Brazil, a good chunk of the people that are around college age use some sort of drug. Most of the time is the less harmful marijuana, but other things like crack cocaine are also common. Drug Trafficking is a big thing around here. To illustrate things, around 30% of the people that are currently in jail on Brazil were arrested for drug trafficking. – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Mar 17 '17 at 11:31

12 Answers 12

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One thing which would greatly improve morale is if you can get the CEO to agree to be part of the random testing. It will allow you to communicate this as, "the CEO thinks this is important enough to even be involved themselves."

This will depend 100% on your relationship with the CEO. You could mention this to the CEO like, "Hey, we're pretty concerned this is going to be received really poorly. One idea we thought of would be if you also are involved in the random testing, as this will build morale."

Even if this isn't possible, I would recommend:

  • Verifying you are in compliance with all local laws
  • Making the policy perfectly clear:
    • How will the testing happen?
    • What will the consequences be?
    • Is it intended to test whether you are under the influence at work? Anytime in the past 30 days? You probably will intend only if you show up under the influence, but people will probably interpret the policy as "did you do drugs Friday night on the weekend?"
    • What types of drugs are you testing for?
  • Making it clear that you (and your fellow managers) are also going to be subject to the testing
    • Who will administer it?

Depending on the size of the group, it may also be beneficial to make time for a Q/A session of sorts.

One of the biggest difficulties in this is going to be that the less people know about the policy, the more likely they are to gossip and answer the unanswered questions themselves.

As managers, you want everyone to know exactly what the policy is. The last thing you want is a vague policy to randomly start resulting in people getting fired - that will cause resentment, fear, uncertainty, and frustration.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Jane S Mar 15 '17 at 20:45
75

Targeting for the week after spring break is kind of like entrapment.

Is the intent to start drug testing immediately? Yes that would cause resentment. You could have recreational users that would have chosen not to use drugs during spring break if they were aware they were subject to random drug testing.

Make an announcement that random drug testing starts in 30 days. You may have some drug users that will chose to stop taking drugs to comply.

Drug test any new employees. Define random and communicate. Check with your attorneys.

Below is not random drug testing:

From time to time, when she feels like, she will order a few employees to be tested for drugs.

Sound like your CEO wants to use drug testing as a way to get rid of employees. That is one way to do it but don't call it random if that is how it is executed.

Update

She told me she will pick up every once in a while, with variable frequency, a few employees at random. She will use the same app we use for giving out gifts to pick names, so no surprises there, fortunately.

That is not random. That is not even close to random.

  • Her frequency does not satisfy random
  • Use the same application for gifts. That application is not guaranteed to be random. Nothing to stop her or someone else from running it multiple times. Run internally does not satisfy a proper protocol for a drug testing program.

A proper protocol is random testing does the random part and they only notify a few people of the day they will arrive for random testing.

CEO exclude herself from random is her option but will not be received well.

Supervisor auto included is not going to be received well.

If the union approved a random test based when the CEO wants one and she runs the gift selection for random then the union is not doing it's job. Union should be demanding 3rd party execution of the random.

  • I'm a close personal friend of the CEO. She is not doing it to get rid of employees. – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Mar 13 '17 at 15:01
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    @TSar What matters is how it is perceived. – paparazzo Mar 13 '17 at 15:03
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    That's a good point, actually. I'll give some thinking to it! – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Mar 13 '17 at 15:04
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    My previous work place did random testing of anyone who could access a company vehicle's keys. I worked in IT and maintained vehicle installed radio/computer system, never drove a company car, but did have access to the keys (so could have potentially driven the car) so I was on the random list. The way they explained it worked was that the entire list was given to the test service, the test people would pick when to come (no more than 2x a week, no less than 1x a quarter) and how many people to test (1 person to everyone) and who. Plus we all got tested on our annual contract renewal date. – Ruscal Mar 13 '17 at 23:05
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    My current employer uses an external company for random tests. They have a list of all employees. Prior to coming on site, they randomly generate a list of employees. This list is deliberately generated to be longer than the number of employees that will be tested. They start at the top of the list and work their way down until the target number of employees has been tested. If an employee is on PTO or otherwise offsite, then they are skipped. Anyone onsite is brought to the test site by their supervisor and must arrive within several hours. – Michael Richardson Mar 15 '17 at 21:09
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Your CEO seems more interested in catching people doing something bad than in meeting compliance. Weird answer here, but have you considered pushing back against the CEO? I'm not seeing a clear business reason for this drug policy.

  • The proximity to spring break implies some sense of vindictiveness. Like employees are likely to just have bought drugs (apparently) so this would be a great time to "catch" them. I'm guessing compliance laws have nothing to do with this.
  • The CEO has evidently not thought this through - "guaranteed to be at random" and "when she feels like it" are a contradiction. "When she feels like it" is not random and it is not a sufficient guarantee for randomness. She can order drug tests when she suspects Bob did drugs, or she just decides she doesn't care much for Bob that day. Then she can just keep ordering drug tests until Bob is randomly tested. This is not random.
  • You have a "rider" policy where employees on prescription medication now need to prove it to the company.

So the employees will quit not because of drug testing but because they perceive vindictiveness. Then the CEO will convince herself all the druggies quit and she did the right thing. And you will be stuck working at a miserable company with a CEO with an inflated sense of self-importance.

Pick up your copy of Crucial Conversations and stop this now.

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    @dave_thompson_085 you are very right, I used a thesaurus that besides being terrible is just terrible. – user42272 Mar 13 '17 at 16:07
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    I don't understand the downvotes on this answer. – Paul Smith Mar 13 '17 at 16:23
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    The OP has been instructed to implement this policy by the CEO. I am not sure that your reasons for pushing back are actually good reasons to push back. Good reasons are, This will impact our business's abiltity to meet its goals as we expect x% attrition or similar. That people are going to hate you for this policy is not. Also you do not need to provide you medication list and perscription to your company just to the screener who is bound by HIPA Protections just like you doctor is. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 13 '17 at 16:30
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    @PaulSmith it rather reads a ton into the situation and motivations of the CEO and bases an entire answer as a rant against the CEO with minimal context from the OP as to whether that is justified. Additionally it suggests a pretty tricky move (arguing with the CEO) without really giving much indication as to how to actually do that meaningfully. – enderland Mar 13 '17 at 16:31
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    @enderland If djechlin reads a ton into the motivations of the CEO, employees might do the same. Thus, it's an important perspective of how the testing move will be seen by the employees. – svavil Mar 14 '17 at 18:37
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Make sure you're doing the testing in compliance with all laws. I don't know about Brazil but here, drug testing is covered by state and federal laws so you'll want to make sure you're following the process.

I think your idea of calling them to a place and announcing it at the same time is a good one. As for "unrest" I don't see how it can be avoided. The question for them is "How badly do they want to work there?"

I don't think you'll be able to convince them of the wisdom of the policy. They'll either agree or they won't. I would take questions after the announcement and stress that the reason why it's random and surprise is so that nobody is singled out.

Accept that some people aren't going to be happy though.

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    @TSar: I guess this is slightly more complicated. Some drugs (e.g. Cannabis) can be detected in the body about 6 months after consumption. And it is clear that the psychotropic effects do not last that long. I'd encourage you to check any law in that regard, whether there is precision on how laws are enforced and applied. Because you may detect traces of drug consumption but this does not imply that it has affected the state of the employee when he was at work. And you can't possibly prove it. – Puzzled Mar 13 '17 at 15:45
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    Cannabis cannot be detected in the body 6 months after consumption. You can probably get that with hair, depending on the length. – Chris E Mar 13 '17 at 15:50
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    @Christopher Estep my bad, It seems the maximum is around 30 days for THC. I should have checked before. – Puzzled Mar 13 '17 at 16:09
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    @Puzzled It's a few days to a few weeks depending on usage. There are known cases of it being detectable after half a year or more but those are fairly rare and typically involve chronic use over multiple years. Hair tests are different and have a typically quoted maximum of 90 days. – Lilienthal Mar 13 '17 at 16:49
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    @stannius I kind of do agree that some amount of it can't be prevented. I've never used any sort of illegal drug in my life and never plan to do so, but I'd probably quit if an employer told me they were going to start implementing random blood tests. – reirab Mar 13 '17 at 22:16
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The best way to reduce the amount of unrest is to give people plenty of notice that the tests are going to become policy. Give the employees 6 weeks notice and let them make the decision to either go clean or to find new employment. If you start testing immediately, people will be stressed that tomorrow may be their last day if they are chosen at random for a test.

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    I don't see how this addresses the question. The policy is from the CEO and it's already been made. The question isn't how to make the policy cause less unrest but how the team leaders can (if possible) reduce the unrest caused by notification of the policy, not the policy itself. – Chris E Mar 13 '17 at 14:47
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    @ChristopherEstep The notification of the policy is not what will cause the unrest. The notification of the policy won't cost someone their job. The POLICY is what will leave you without a paycheck if you are a drug user and are randomly chosen. No one cares how you convey the message that there is now a policy that allows you to "randomly" target someone for a drug test. The CEO could take everyone out for massages and dinner at a 5-star restaurant and there would still be unrest because you never know when the first test will come. – dfundako Mar 13 '17 at 14:56
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    I don't disagree that the policy will cause unrest. However, the question deals with notification, not the policy itself. – Chris E Mar 13 '17 at 14:57
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    +1 for answering the XY problem. It would help minimize unrest to make this relatively small change to the new policy. Unless there is some reason beyond the new policy besides the CEO getting a wild hair, implementing it in 30 or 60 days isn't going to make it a worse policy. – stannius Mar 13 '17 at 16:55
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    @ChristopherEstep "What is the best way to break the news..." "With sufficient notice". Seems like it answers the question to me. Nowhere in the question do I read when exactly the first drug test will happen, so why should we assume that date is fixed (and imminent) and try to work around that rather than presenting what's arguably the best solution, not only for OP's problem, but also to the question as asked. – Dukeling Mar 13 '17 at 17:15
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Converting my comment to an answer, since it seems to be quite popular ...

I think that breaking this news without trouble is next to impossible. I wouldn't be surprised if a bunch of people quit. If I were faced with this policy, I would quit immediately. Here are my objections to the policy:

(1) This smells like way too much "Big Brother" for my tastes. My employer is my employer. Not my mother, not my priest, not my policeman. My employer has a right to judge the quality of my work and the contribution I make to the company. Nothing more.

(2) It's easily possible that I could use "illegal" drugs at home, and yet be unimpaired and 100% effective at work. The testing cannot determine whether or not drug use is affecting my work, and that's what matters most.

(3) There are plenty of legal drugs that adversely affect job performance.

These are the kinds of objections that people are likely to raise. I think you will need to give them some thought, so that you're ready to respond. I'm not sure there are any good responses, and that's why your task is so difficult.

  • "illegal" drugs are Illegal. You can't buy or sell marijuana, crack and several others legally on Brazil. Putting quotes on it undermines the seriousness of the subject and is a very bad way to tackle them. Also, your employer has the right to measure how you fit in the company culture. If you are a bad fit (AKA show up using a marijuana T-Shirt on a drug-free place or bashing kids on a job with lots of mothers), you'll be show the door, not matter how good your work is. This here, and everywhere else. Thinking that "it's only my production that matters" is a naive way to tackle this. – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Mar 14 '17 at 13:59
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    @TSar -- all the stuff you mentioned was supposed to be covered by my "contribution to the company" phrase. Sounds like you are in favor of the policy (which is good, since you will have to defend it). I expect you will have to deal with employees who think the same way I do. I think you have a tough job. I'm happy that I don't work for you. You are probably also happy that I don't work for you. That might be the only thing we can agree on. – bubba Mar 14 '17 at 14:07
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    @TSar what if the employee went on spring break to where a drug was legal? – user151019 Mar 14 '17 at 14:18
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    @Tsar Ah so your written rules include a process for disputing the issue? – user151019 Mar 14 '17 at 14:25
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    @TSar In that case you are adding even more subjectivity into the system. If you let one employee get away with a negative result then other people that turn up negative will be very mad if they are punished for the same thing. The way around that would be to have a list of acceptable reasons to turn up negative (along with medical uses which you already mentioned). But if you do that then people will just make sure one of those apply to them (are you going to investigate their travel habits to check whether they really were somewhere that it was legal to use?) – Kevin Wells Mar 14 '17 at 15:55
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All the above answers, although very good, lack the knowledge of how law in Brazil works.

Brazil have the craziest working laws, as an example here (portuguese content, sorry): https://economia.uol.com.br/empregos-e-carreiras/album/2011-casos-inusitados-na-justica-do-trabalho_album.htm#fotoNav=13

This guy worked selling beer, and was fired after his manager caught him drinking beer. He sued the company and won.

Another example, a customer of mine had his notebook stolen. Luckly he had LogMeIn installed for support reasons. During the night he realized his notebook was online and logged in to LogMeIn to see his screen. He saw his manager (male) having a video chat with another man (both were naked). He went to the police with screenshots. He was later sued for invasion of privacy and lost.

I suggest you speak to a brazilian lawyer urgently, he will probably advise you to make all employees sign something, and will probably point you to the correct law on HOW to do the drug test and IF such a drug test is actually legal.

I am no specialist but a quick Google search says it's forbidden for regular professionals (I think only risky professionals like for example a public bus driver are allowed): http://noticias.r7.com/economia/lei-veta-empresa-de-pedir-teste-de-drogas-para-trabalhador-mesmo-se-supremo-liberar-porte-09092015

Please consult with a local lawyer, laws in Brazil and not only crazy but they are also expensive, if a couple of employees sue you later the company is probably going to pay so much money for them that it will surely hurt the cashflow to an extent that small/mid companies sometimes never recover.

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    We got the legal part covered already. The Brazilian law is batshit crazy, but is also full of loopholes and there are ways to dodge certain things. We already got clearance from the union and we will be asking the employees to sign the policy changes. – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Mar 13 '17 at 17:20
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    Better call Saul. – SpongeBob Mar 13 '17 at 21:31
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    @kevin The usual posture regarding policy changes on Brazil is "accept It ir bem fired". Law forces us to collect signatures to cover our hide so we cant bem sucedido later. – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Mar 14 '17 at 9:22
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    @Tsar: btw I don't know how unions work in Brazil, but if the union approved something and it turns out the employees hate it, then you might find yourselves with a new union on your hands that doesn't approve it. Depends how easy it is for employees to switch to a different union, form a new one, or recall their union rep and appoint someone more in tune with their collective opinion. – Steve Jessop Mar 14 '17 at 12:29
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    This is interesting. For the employees it's: "nobody has the rigth to use illegal drugs. They are illegal. You aren't supposed to use them" but for the company it's: We found loopholes to do things that are illegal, so we're doing them. Why is it not: "Drug testing is illegal for professionals (assuming fsenna's link). We aren't supposed to do that"? It all smacks of hypocrisy to me. – mcalex Mar 15 '17 at 4:28
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Ethics aside (becuase random drug testing is highly inaccurate and often prejudicial), this is going to be a tough sell.

The idea of the parking lot is less than ideal. This is a large, open space. Employees will likely be on edge as a result.

Email is usually the best approach for this, provided all employees have access.

Please be aware, following ongoing discussions with management, there will be randomised drug testing starting from {date}.
This policy is not directed at anyone specifically, and those who are using a prescribed medication will not be penalised.
If you have any concerns, I will be holding a Q&A session on {somedate} in {place}. Alternatively, come speak to me at any time, or reply to this email with any questions.

Emails = paper trail
The Q&A can be advertised via bulletin boards, reminders, etc. This encourages staff to read the email.

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    Email is bad for something important like this. People will read it at different times (and some won't read it) which means that the news will spread by word of mouth, and risk exaggeration. Also email gives no opportunity for questions, and no opportunity to convey tone. People are more likely to upset by a form of communication that doesn't allow response. – DJClayworth Mar 13 '17 at 14:34
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    "and those who are using a prescribed medication will now need to disclose it moving forward" is more accurate – user42272 Mar 13 '17 at 15:44
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    I think email is a good way to do the initial communication. It gives a nice anonymous messenger for the staff to be upset about and with. However I think it needs to be followed up with some sort of meetings be they department/team sized or company wide. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Mar 13 '17 at 16:33
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    I think this is pretty good actually. Short and simple. If there are problems to come, and I agree it's possible, you can deal with them as needed at the time. But anything else is just stirring the pot before you've even got any bees in it. – Lightness Races with Monica Mar 13 '17 at 17:02
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    @djechlin, Hopefully, those people with prescribed medications will only need to disclose their medications to the 3rd party medical laboratory doing the testing. I do not know Brazilian law, but I would assume that the more this kind of private medical information is compartmentalized and kept out of reach from the employer itself, that the less likely this information will be misused for discrimination or gossip. – Stephan Branczyk Mar 14 '17 at 13:00
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The best way to have this done is for the policy to be effective for the whole company an in compliance to all applicable laws. ( Glad to see that it is )

For the least amount of impact on morale, the tests need to be truly random. If this policy is only for a particular department, morale will be an issue.

To answer your main question: In terms of delivery, deliver the update to your companies policy as you would any other update to policy. The more "standard operating procedure" this feels like the better. AND, by delivering the news, you are essentially telling those affected to get and stay clean or be fired.

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    Even if the test was truly random, it will not be seen as random. There will be some rumblings regardless. I agree, however, that random is best where it is not practical to test everyone. Otherwise, it is probably best to test everyone including management who should go first as a show of inclusion. – closetnoc Mar 13 '17 at 16:17
7

Breaking this policy is going to require some planning. If you have never had a drug or alcohol use policy then you should allow for at least 30 to 60 days before being enacted to address concerns and allow for employee's to "prepare" for the testing. If there is a reason that it must be enacted sooner then disclose that to your employees. For instance if your insurance provider insists on this, or if some new client is insisting on it, then letting your employees know why can go a long way towards appeasing the masses.

First I would use an anonymous No Reply HR Account to send out a company wide email breaking the news and explaining the policy. Enderlands answer does a great job of describing how the policy should read. In the email explain that there will be meetings set up for groups to ask questions and get answers. If the company has a substance abuse rehabilitation program this would be a good time to encourage any in need to take advantage of it.

I would instruct Managers and or team leaders to set up a meeting with their staff and a member of HR to communicate the policy and ask and answer questions. Write down all of the questions asked and send out a followup email that includes all the questions that were asked and the official answer from the company. This email should come from an email that can be replied to with additional questions.

Any time you implement a new policy like this you can expect some push back. Many of the people who push back are not likely to fail the test which is why they feel comfortable pushing back. This is a change and some people just do not like change. Try to keep everyone calm and address the questions professionally.

Note: It is very important that HR and Management present a united front in support of this new policy. If that does not happen you are going to have more push back and hard feelings about this. You are the leaders in this regard and your people will follow your lead for the most part. If you show them you hate this policy then they will also hate the policy, and that is going to harm the business which will impact everyone working for the company in the end. It may be a bad idea, but turning moral against the company could cost everyone their job if the company fails as a result.

7

Leave it to the professionals (and minimize the risk of lawsuits).

I can't imagine that your company will be performing the test themselves but will instead be outsourcing it to a company specialized in such testing. Such a company will have the expertise and experience to tell you when to test and to select those to be tested for you, as well as performing the testing and informing you of the results. But they also ought to have enough experience to advise you as to the best way to break the news that you are about to begin testing to your employees. Listen to their advice.

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    No, keep the answer. It's a legitimate answer. And yes, even the selection of candidates to test may be something that they do. If so, you should talk to them to cover your bases and before the CEO commits to the job of selecting employees. After all, she probably has better things to do, and it probably won't be as fun as drawing names to give out prizes. – Stephan Branczyk Mar 14 '17 at 13:12
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    "even the selection of candidates to test is probably something that they do", I would say "especially the selection of candidates to test is probably something that they do". That way, no one can claim discrimination if they are selected. That is a big advantage of using a 3rd party company in such a sensitive matter. – Mawg says reinstate Monica Mar 14 '17 at 13:15
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    I've edited your answer for language and to make it flow a bit better but ping me back or roll it back if you disagree with the changes. – Lilienthal Mar 14 '17 at 14:15
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Local rules and laws and union agreement have an influence here, but typically random is not a requirement. Persons in authority can normally call for tests based on suspicion, with random names also included to prevent public knowledge that the suspect was singled out particularly if they come back clean. That is it is not uncommon for 10 random tests to really only include 8 randoms with 2 targeted people included.

If in an position where employees are working under an employee handbook or similar contract, it would be normal to address such a policy change by a revision to that, and notification to employees would be by the distribution of the changed document, not by word of mouth disclosure.

Random or even targeted test are neither unusual nor uncommon many places. I would however find blood tests to be unusual and of questionable legality, again depending on local laws and CBA's. Urine test and even hair sample tests are considered less intrusive and often are implemented unilaterally, and employees are often given the option of blood tests to refute results, but demanding a blood test is typically in the US something police cannot even do without a court order, so at least in the US one would have a hard time convincing employees that a company could institute such a requirement without consent.

  • Obtaining consent from employees is usually quite easy in the US though (at least, easier than the police obtaining consent from suspected criminals: I don't mean it's trivial). All else fails you threaten to fire them if they don't consent. Sure, some people quit because they consider blood testing too intrusive, but the CEO has already decided their priorities... – Steve Jessop Mar 14 '17 at 12:33
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    In the US, you can refuse a blood draw on religious grounds. Granted, there are exceptions if the government believes you're putting your child in danger, or if the government thinks it has probable cause to believe that you were operating a vehicle under the influence. In Brazil, I have no idea what the law is. – Stephan Branczyk Mar 14 '17 at 13:18
  • @StephanBranczyk To add to that, if someone were to refuse on religious grounds, and you fired them for not taking it, they would probably have good grounds for a religious discrimination lawsuit (again, in america, and also, IANAL). – Kevin Wells Mar 14 '17 at 15:58
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    @SteveJessop I agree that obtaining consent except for religious type exclusions is not that difficult, except that the OP indicated a union was involved. In US, a union being involved would limit the ability to unilateral termination. From the OP that the union has already signed off on it is strange to me. Typically, a union agreeing to blood tests without a member vote would be grounds for members to call for de-certification of the union and a very nasty legal situation. – dlb Mar 14 '17 at 16:17
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    @dlb: yeah, I said the same to the questioner in a comment thread somewhere. The employer seems to have done a secret deal with the union (not only didn't have a vote, didn't even tell the employees it was under discussion). Unless the legal situation in Brazil is so thoroughly on the employer's side that the union doesn't think there's any point even discussing it, it does sound like union members who object would feel they haven't been represented well... – Steve Jessop Mar 14 '17 at 17:11

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