New policy for city’s employees likely to include random drug tests 10/14/2014

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 14, 2014

New policy for city’s employees likely to include random drug tests

By John Howell
Batesville’s new drug policy for city employees will likely include provision for random testing of all workers.

The mayor and aldermen and assistant city attorney Colmon Mitchell discussed the draft of a drug policy during a work session before their regular their Oct. 7 meeting. The elected officials are expected to adopt a final draft Oct. 21. The policy will expand the possibility for being tested at random for drug use, including alcohol, beyond city employees who are already subject to drug testing.

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The policy under consideration would include drug testing as a pre-employment condition, testing if there is a reasonable suspicion of drug use, testing following a job-related accident and random selection testing, assistant city attorney Colmon Mitchell said.

“It’s got a provision for people on prescription drugs; they need to tell their supervisor,” Mitchell said.

There is also an exception for employees already tested under federal law, primarily gas department employees and workers who could be called in the event of a natural gas emergency.

Under the policy testing will be confidential. If an employee is flagged as the result of a test, a second test will be administered at city expense. Subsequent testing would be at the employee’s expense, Mitchell said.

If tests indicate drug use, an employee could be suspended with or without pay or terminated, Mitchell said. The policy will become effective 30 days after it is adopted.