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DOLE: Random workplace drug test a must

Labor and Employment Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III reminded employers to comply with the order to conduct random drug testing in workplaces.

In a statement, Bello stressed that DOLE’s Department Order No. 53-03 (Guidelines for Implementation of a Drug-Free Workplace Policies and Programs for the Private Sector) which calls for random drug testing of employees, “applies to all establishments in the private sector, including their contractors and concessionaires.”

“As required under the D.O., a random drug test must be conducted by the employers on their employees and officials, and its schedule must be unannounced, with each employee having an equal chance of being selected for testing,” he said.

Logo photo courtesy of keyword-suggestions.com

Logo photo courtesy of keyword-suggestions.com

Under the DOLE Drug-Free Workplace Policy and Program, there are two circumstances wherein employers can subject their employees to a mandatory drug test,  the ‘for cause testing’ and the ‘post-accident testing.’

‘For cause testing’ takes place when the company may ask an officer/employee to submit to a drug test at any time it feels that the employee may be under the influence of drugs.

‘Post-accident testing’, on the other hand, is allowed in two situations: the ‘near-miss’ and the ‘work-accident’ circumstance.

‘Near miss’ refers to an incident arising from or in the course of work that could have led to injuries or fatalities of the workers and/or considerable damage to the employer had it not been curtailed.

‘Work-accident’ circumstance, on the other hand, refers to unplanned or unexpected occurrence which may or may not result in personal injury, property damage, work stoppage or interference, or any combination thereof, which arises out of and in the course of employment.

All drug tests shall employ the screening and confirmatory tests.

When the confirmatory test turns positive, the company’s Assessment Team shall evaluate the results and determine the level of care and administrative interventions that can be extended to the concerned employee.

Under the rules, should the officer or employee turn out positive during drug test, it does not mean that the officer or employee shall be dismissed right away from work.

Based on the DOLE Drug-Free Workplace Policy and Program, an officer or employee who, for the first time, is found positive of drug use, shall be referred for treatment and or rehabilitation in a DOH accredited center.

Following rehabilitation, the company’s Assessment Team may recommend to the employer the resumption of the employee’s job if he or she poses no serious danger to his or her co-employees and/or the workplace.

All costs for the treatment and rehabilitation of the drug dependent employee shall be charged to his account.

The period during which the employee is under treatment or rehabilitation shall be considered as authorized leaves.

However, repeated drug use, even after ample opportunity for treatment and rehabilitation, shall be dealt with the corresponding penalties under Republic Act 9165 or Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 and is a ground for dismissal.