Nicole Luppino, head of human resources for Bud’s Tire and Wheel, and Bill Cleary, director of human resources for Dunn Tire, both share insight into their dealerships’ drug policies.
Bud’s Tire and Wheel (California)
“When it comes to employees and drug use, customer safety is our main concern,” says Luppino. “If an employee is working while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the work on a customer’s car can be compromised, putting that customer at risk for a potential accident. If this were to occur, our company would then be liable for damages and injuries and, depending on the severity of the accident, it could have a detrimental financial impact.”
Because of this, the dealership requires that all candidates undergo a pre-employment drug screening before an offer of employment is extended. For existing employees, the company has a “reasonable suspicion policy that allows us to send an employee for a random drug test should we have a reasonable suspicion that they are under the influence while working,” Luppino explains, adding Bud’s has yet to deal with any drug issues.
“Should an employee test positive, we may look into options of assisting the employee into a substance abuse program in place of employment termination,” she says. “If this were the case, a ‘return to duty’ drug test would have to be taken and passed before the employee could return to work.”
With three locations in Southern California, Luppino realizes there is not much that can be done regarding an employee’s actions outside of the workplace.
“We do, however, encourage a healthy and drug-free lifestyle to our employees,” she explains. “This is achieved through safety meetings held monthly at each location. We also have an employee assistance program, which would allow an employee to call an anonymous help line for assistance should they need to talk to someone about their concerns or to seek help for any issues.”
The company’s policy states that an employee cannot be under the influence of any illegal drug in the workplace – including abuse of over-the-counter medication, alcohol, prescription medication and medical marijuana.
“If an employee comes to work stoned and has already predisclosed to us that they have a medical condition, we will send them home,” Luppino says. “As for new candidates, we tell all applicants that they will undergo a drug test before an offer is made. If a candidate shares with us beforehand that they have a medical condition and use marijuana, then we will review the medical condition and accommodations that may be necessary before an offer is extended.”
Dunn Tire (New York and Pennsylvania)
Dunn Tire has a zero tolerance policy that states if an employee tests positive, it is grounds for immediate termination. The dealership performs pre-employment, quarterly random, post accident and just cause drug screenings, according to Cleary.
“The concerns with drug use in the workplace are many; making sure that employees don’t get injured and that our customers are back on the road safely are the main concerns. Dealing with theft and the legal ramifications are another concern,” he says. “There is a direct connection between employee performance and someone that is using drugs. It may not always be immediately apparent, but over time it is easy to see the connection.”
Regarding pre-employment drug testing, Cleary says the failure rate is less than 3%. “In most cases, potential employees who know they will fail don’t show up for the test; only a few still get tested thinking they will pass,” he explains. “Depending on the region and the jobs we are recruiting for, it can make it hard to find new employees. Some markets just happen to have a higher incidence of drug use, and if we have a store nearby it can become a challenge. However, as a general rule, we get a good amount of applicants coming in and we have great people to consider.”
The dealership, which operates locations in Pennsylvania and New York, has not yet dealt with a medical marijuana issue, but plans to address these situations on a case-by-case basis.
“I always work with our attorney when going through stuff like this,” Cleary says. “Having a firm policy in place and being consistent is key, so there are no legal ramifications. You can’t selectively enforce it; you have to be consistent.”
To read the full story on “Drugs in the Workplace,” click here.