Reasonable Suspicion Drug and Alcohol Testing

Reasonable Suspicion.

Have you ever suspected an employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol?  Did you turn your head, questioning your own judgment? Or perhaps you were hesitant to handle the matter on your own? Recognizing the signs of drug/alcohol abuse will make an uncomfortable situation smoother while protecting your employees’ health and safety, as well as your company’s bottom line.

According to the American Council for Drug Education, drug and alcohol abusers are:

  • 10 times more likely to miss work
  • 6 times more likely to be involved in on-the-job accidents (and 5 times more likely to injure themselves or another in the process)
  • 5 times more likely to file a worker’s compensation claim
  • 33% less productive and responsible for health care costs that are three times as high

These staggering statistics force organizations everywhere to consider the drug and alcohol policies in place and whether reasonable suspicion drug testing is right for their workplace.

Reasonable suspicion drug testing occurs when an employer has reason to believe that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol while conducting work.  In order to act on reasonable suspicion, employers should first ensure the company has a drug/alcohol policy that addresses reasonable suspicion testing.  In the absence of written policy, past practice sets precedent.

What should employers look for?

  • Unsteady walking, stumbling, staggering, falling or swaying
  • Unusual speech patterns (slurred, slow, rambling, shouting)
  • Sleepy, over excited or violent demeanor
  • Erratic behavior
  • Using profanity, threatening or hostile
  • Hyperactive
  • Drowsy or sleepy
  • Bloodshot, glassy or dilated eyes
  • Flushed or sweaty face
  • Odor of alcohol
  • Disorderly appearance
  • Strong alcohol odor on breath

Drug and alcohol abusers can be very disruptive and costly to the workplace.  Having direct policies and procedures in place to deal with these issues as they arise will ensure these costs do not get out of hand.

Tandem HR

If your business needs help getting policies like these in place, talk to Tandem HR today for a free consultation. Tandem HR is a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) in the Chicago area that assists hundreds of small and mid-sized businesses with creating exceptional workplaces. We also help clients save time and money while growing their business by taking on the administrative tasks associated with human resources, benefits, payroll, tax administration, regulatory compliance and risk management.

For more information on Tandem HR or PEOs, visit or call 630.928.0510.