The impact of the opioid crisis in the workplace is significant; an estimated seventy five percent of employers report having had to address an opioid-related issue at work. Opioid use affecting the workplace has a variety of legal implications that employers need to be familiar with in areas such as drug testing, workplace safety, employee performance management, compliance with non-discrimination laws, and employee privacy. The National Safety Council, backed by federal agencies such as OSHA, the Office of the Surgeon General, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has just released the Opioids at Work Employer Toolkit, a free resource to educate employers on many of these topics.
In addition to providing education about opioids and substance use disorder, the toolkit informs employers some of the basics of how to develop drug free workplace programs, draft policies, and address the myriad of legal, human resource, and safety considerations that are implicated by opioid use at work. This toolkit is an excellent resource that addresses a serious issue facing employers and employees alike. It is also only a starting point. As the toolkit points out, dealing with opioid-related issues in the workplace should be done in partnership with legal counsel to both ensure compliance with federal, state, and local laws and appropriately manage legal risk.