4.13 Employee Drug & Alcohol Testing

Purpose

The University of Northern Iowa (UNI) is committed to providing a drug-free workplace and learning environment. Alcohol and drug abuse pose a threat to the health and safety of university faculty, staff, students, and visitors. This policy is intended to comply with the Drug Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 and the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991.This policy is also intended to serve in maintaining the health and safety of the University’s faculty, staff, students, and visitors, in addition to providing the practice and procedure for managing issues regarding drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace and on campus.

Policy Statement

An employee, for purposes of this policy, includes any individual providing a service to the University and receiving compensation directly from the University for that service. This includes, but is not limited to, faculty, staff, administrators, graduate assistants, and student employees. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, impairment or use of a controlled substance by employees on property owned or used by UNI or in conjunction with a university-sponsored activity is prohibited.  Refer to UNI policy 13.18 Alcohol and Drugs for further information on employee standards of conduct, sanctions, health risks and resources.

A. Drug and Alcohol Testing

Reasonable suspicion

Employees are subject to testing based on (but not limited to) observations by at least two members of management of apparent workplace use, possession or impairment as outlined in this policy. The Human Resource Services (HRS) Director, or designee, should be consulted before sending an employee for testing. Management must use the Reasonable Suspicion Observation Checklist to document specific observations and behaviors that create a reasonable suspicion that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Examples include:

  • Odors (smell of alcohol, body odor or urine).
  • Movements (unsteady, fidgety, dizzy).
  • Eyes (dilated, constricted or watery eyes, or involuntary eye movements).
  • Face (flushed, sweating, confused or blank look).
  • Speech (slurred, slow, distracted mid-thought, inability to verbalize thoughts).
  • Emotions (argumentative, agitated, irritable, drowsy).
  • Actions (yawning, twitching).
  • Inactions (sleeping, unconscious, no reaction to questions).

When reasonable suspicion testing is warranted, both management and an HRS representative will meet with the employee to explain the observations and the requirement to undergo a drug and/or alcohol test within two hours. An employee required to undergo such testing will be provided a reasonable period of time (i.e., no more than two hours) to obtain union representation, as applicable, prior to submitting to such tests.  Refusal to submit to a drug/alcohol test will be treated as a positive test result and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Under no circumstances will the employee be allowed to drive themselves to the testing facility. A member of management must transport the employee or arrange for a taxi service and arrange for the employee to be transported home.

Post-accident

Employees are subject to testing when they cause or contribute to accidents that seriously damage a university vehicle, machinery, equipment or property and/or that result in an injury to themselves and/or another individual requiring offsite medical attention. A circumstance that constitutes reasonable suspicion will be presumed to arise in any instance involving a work-related accident or injury in which an employee who was operating a motorized vehicle (including equipment such as a forklift, lawn tractor, end loader, golf cart etc) is found to be responsible for causing the accident. In any of these instances, the initial investigation and subsequent testing must take place within two hours following the accident, if not sooner.  An employee required to undergo such testing will be provided a reasonable period of time (i.e., no more than two hours) to obtain union representation, as applicable, prior to submitting to such tests. Refusal to submit to a drug/alcohol test will be treated as a positive drug test result and may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Under no circumstances will the employee be allowed to drive themselves to the testing facility. A member of management must transport the employee or arrange for a taxi service and arrange for the employee to be transported home.

For information about testing procedures, see https://hrs.uni.edu/policies/drug-alcohol-testing-procedure.

B.    Additional Requirements for DOT Covered Positions

In addition, individuals being offered or holding DOT Covered Positions at UNI, including positions that require the employee to hold a valid Commercial Driver’s License, who will be driving a commercial motor vehicle, will be subject to pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, and return-to-duty drug or alcohol testing as required by federal law.  Any employee holding a DOT Covered Position is prohibited from consuming alcohol while on duty or four hours prior to on-duty time.  Any employee holding a DOT Covered Position shall not report for duty or remain on duty when the driver uses any controlled substances, except when the use is at the direction of a physician who has advised the driver that the substance will not adversely affect their ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.  For information about testing procedures, see https://hrs.uni.edu/policies/drug-alcohol-testing-procedure.

Whenever a driver is involved in a DOT-Recordable Accident, the driver is required to immediately report for testing following the procedures detailed on the Driver’s Post-Accident Checklist, which every driver is given at the time they are hired.  If the driver isn’t readily available for alcohol and drug testing, they may be deemed as refusing to submit to testing.

C. Sanctions 

Employees who violate this policy may be referred to an educational/treatment program and may be subject to disciplinary action including a formal reprimand, being placed on enforced leave status, suspension, termination of employment and/or referral for prosecution in accordance with applicable local, state or federal law. Employee policy violations shall be addressed by the supervisor, in conjunction with the Director of HRS and/or the Associate Provost for Faculty. 

D. Conflicts

Should there be any conflicts between federal law and this policy and procedures, federal law will prevail.

E. Policy Contact

The University’s contact for any question regarding this policy is the HRS Director, or their designee, telephone (319) 273-2422.  Information can also be found on the HRS web page.

Human Resource Services, approved February 17, 2020
University Council, approved March 23, 2020
President and President’s Cabinet, approved April 6, 2020

[Last reviewed and/or updated 4/2020, 10/2009]