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Hot Topic!

Employee Drug Testing
Updated: Apr 2007


Questions
    1. How prevalent employee drug testing is in the probation and parole arena?
    2. Who has a zero tolerance policies? In other words if an officer tests positive for an illegal substance, abuse of prescribed medication, regardless of drug type and level of detection is terminated immediately?


Responses
Arizona, Apache County
Has random drug testing on a random selection of their employees on a yearly basis. They have a drug and alcohol use statement (including testing) in their policy that provides rehab and termination, depending on the circumstance. - Chuck Moter, cmoter@co.apache.az.us

Arizona, Cochise County
Does not test at pre-employment or once they have been hired. However, our policy does allow for drug testing when there is cause. Depending on the infraction, progressive discipline is administered. - Armando Fernandez

Arizona, Gila County
The Presiding Judge is not in favor of random drug testing of employees. Drug testing of employees can only occur for "cause". As for levels of tolerance, this issue has yet to be decided. - Paul Kosierowski

Arizona, La Paz County
Does not have an employee drug testing program and does not have a zero tolerance plan. - Richard Tozer

Arizona, Maricopa County
Employee drug testing is not prevalent in their department. They do not have a zero tolerance policy as described as "immediate termination". While employees MAY be terminated for testing positive for an illegal substance, their departmental policy, as well as the Superior Court Administrative Policy No. P-304 E. provides for an opportunity to rehabilitate through an Employee Assistance Program. Failure to comply or complete a rehabilitation/abatement program may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. - Peggy Bartel

Arizona, Navajo County
Probation, both adult and juvenile, mandate a drug-screen at the time of employment, with the caveat that on-going drug screens can be asked of a single employee or an entire department throughout their employment with the department. An employee will be asked to "drop" if they believe, and have good cause to suspect, that she/he is using/abusing substances. Should an employee test positive or volunteer the information, they ask that employee to get into a treatment program. If the issue isn't severe enough to require inpatient treatment but can be handled through outpatient, then the employee may remain on the job during treatment, with periodic, unscheduled urine analysis (UA) by the department as well as the treatment provider. Should the employee require inpatient treatment, then they will consider placing that employee on administrative leave, with pay for the first 45 days, then, without pay - or the employee may use his/her sick or vacation time beyond 45 days to receive full pay. Upon successful completion of treatment, return to work. Unscheduled U/A's will be performed through the department to insure compliance. "Ergo, we treat our employees at least on an equal footing with our probationers". - Ted Ryersbach

Arizona, Prescott
Excerpts from their Substance Abuse Policy: "TASC will not tolerate the use of alcohol or drugs on our premises, nor will we allow employees and contract individuals to work with drugs or alcohol in their system. ....If you have a problem with drug and/or alcohol abuse, you are encouraged to come forward any time. We will help you with an appropriate, reasonable cost treatment program (at your expense) that allows you to keep your job and end the substance dependency." - Carl Fox, (928)445-6844

Florida
Pre-employment Drug Testing: All selected applicants for positions in the classes of correctional officer and correctional probation officer are required to successfully complete a urine drug test. Also, this policy applies to all selected applicants for Select Exempt Service and Senior Management Service positions. Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing Program: Any employee may be required to submit a drug and/or alcohol test based upon a belief that an employee is using or has used drugs and/or alcohol in violation of the department's policy, based on specific evidence. There is a zero tolerance policy for all certified positions, Select Exempt Service, and Senior Management Service positions if the employee tests positive for illegal drug use. - Annette Delifus

Georgia
Their case managers are not sworn officers and are not subject to routine drug tests. - Linda Layton, LaytonL@djj.state.ga.us

Minnesota, Pine County
There is no policy regarding drug testing in Pine County. "It has been an area little discussed in my network circles in Minnesota". Where alcohol has been deemed a problem, an employee was given the option of treatment. It is suspected the same reaction for use of drugs with failure to abstain thereafter resulting in termination - Terryl Arola, taarola@co.pine.mn.us

New Jersey
New Jersey probation does not conduct employee drug tests. - William Burrell

New York, Broome County
Broome County has no policy on employee testing across the board. It has been bantered about in various negotiations. From an administrative standpoint, the person who responded to this request would handle an arrest for a drug offense like any other arrest (felony, misdemeanant) and terminate most likely. - Dnemec@co.broome.ny.us

New York, Dutchess County
An employee may be required to submit a urine screen prior to hiring and during tenure. If alcohol or substance abuse is suspected or found, the employee would be given the option of treatment. If the abuse continues, they can be terminated. Since al probation officers are union employees, contractual terms may also specify action. If the abuse/use is connected to an arrest with a conviction, the employee may be terminated. - Sheryl Zuna, Saz61@aol.com

New York, Suffolk County
Employees are tested at the initial hiring and when evidence suggests a problem. No dismissal is easy. New York State must have a hearing with an outside hearing examiner. The employee is usually offered Employee Assistance Program before being fired. - Vincent Iaria, Vincent.iaria@co.suffolk.ny.us

North Carolina
Initial drug testing and no further testing unless there is a problem. - Jennifer Miller

Ohio
Employee drug testing is done randomly, but it is done on a regular basis with all probation officers, supervisors, and drug testing lab staff eligible to be selected at random. They will also test for cause when a situation arises regarding any employee. Butler County's Administrative Judge employs a zero tolerance policy for employees of the Court. - Gary Yates, YatesGW@butlercountyohio.org

Pennsylvania
At this point in time, the PA Board of Probation and Parole only tests as part of their pre-employment screening process. This pre-employment screening is "zero tolerance" for non-prescribed medications. They have not yet moved toward drug testing for existing employees except for those who are assigned to our offices within the State Correctional Institutions. Although these employees are PBPP employees, they must abide by the "probable cause" drug screening utilized by the Department of Corrections. That program is managed and administered by the PA Department of Corrections, not the Board of Probation and Parole. - Gary Scicchitano, ascicchita@state.pa.us

Utah
We have a drug free workplace with guidelines. - Ray Wahl, rayw@email.utcourts.gov

Virginia
The Virginia Department of Corrections has a policy on employee drug testing for all employees including probation and parole officers. All new hires must submit to a urine screen. All current employees are subject to random screens. If an employee is suspected of drug use or alcohol abuse, or has a traffic accident or other type of work related accident, the employee is subject to a urine screen. An employee, if experiencing substance and/or alcohol abuse problems, can request treatment and a leave of absence. Once treatment is completed, the employee can return to work and be subjected to periodic random drug screens. If the employee tests positive after undergoing treatment, the employee is terminated. If an employee is suspected of drug use and/or alcohol abuse before the employee reports it and a urine test reveals abuse, the employee is terminated immediately. Zero tolerance. - Drew Molloy, Amolloy@dcjs.state.va.us

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