Skip to main content

e-Li: Electronic Library

Federal Drug Free Workplace Requirements

The Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires local governments that are federal grant recipients or contractors to maintain a drug-free workplace as a condition of receiving funds. The Act requires covered organizations to do the following:

  1. Publish and give a policy statement to all covered employees informing them that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in the covered workplace and specifying the actions that will be taken against employees who violate the policy.
  2. Establish a drug-free awareness program to make employees aware of the dangers of drug abuse in the workplace; the policy of maintaining a drug-free workplace; any available drug counseling, rehabilitation and employee assistance programs; and the penalties that may be imposed upon employees for drug abuse violations.
  3. Notify employees that as a condition of employment on a federal contract or grant, the employee must abide by the terms of the policy statement; and notify the employer, within five calendar days, if he or she is convicted of a criminal drug violation in the workplace.
  4. Notify the contracting agency within 10 days after receiving notice that a covered employee has been convicted of a criminal drug violation in the workplace.
  5. Impose a penalty on, or require satisfactory participation in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program by, any employee who is convicted of a reportable workplace drug conviction.
  6. Make an ongoing, good faith effort to maintain a drug-free workplace by meeting the requirements of the Act.

The Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 neither requires nor authorizes a government employer to test its employees for drugs or alcohol. Drug testing is constitutionally permissible for governmental employees only under certain circumstances, and specific policies and procedures must be developed for testing programs. See “Government Employee Drug Testing - the Constitutional Issues” for more information.