Does My Business Need a Substance Abuse Policy? If so, WHY?

by | Apr 19, 2016 | Labor and Employment Law

Employers often wonder whether it is better to have more or less policies governing employee behavior. Many employers, especially smaller ones, feel that implementing policies may be difficult or harsh in a small environment. That may be true with certain policies. However, one policy that employers should definitely and seriously consider implementing is a Substance Abuse Policy, which describes to employees the behavior that employers expect with regard to use, manufacture and distribution of drugs and/or alcohol.

Substance abuse by employees may have a seriously deleterious effect on a business for any number of reasons. An impaired employee may injure him or herself, a customer/client or another employee, creating all different types of liability. Employers should be clear with employees what their expectations are of their employees with regard to this area and what will occur if such behavior occurs.

The benefits of implementing a Substance Abuse Policy include:

  1. Maintaining a safe and healthy work environment;
  2. Lowering workers compensation rates. South Carolina law provides that employers who implement such a policy will receive a discount on their workers compensation premiums.
  3. Reducing unemployment liability for terminating for someone who violates a Substance Abuse Policy. South Carolina law specifically allows a disqualification to employees terminated for violating a Substance Abuse Policy in accordance with the provisions in the statute. BUT, the policy must be in writing, communicated to employees and follow the statute.

What are the downsides to implementing such a policy?

For these reasons, employers should strongly consider implementing a substance abuse policy.

Should employers have any questions about this or need assistance with regard to this issue or other employment-related issues, contact Kris Cato, at or call 803-349-4397.

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