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Positive Drug Screen/Short Term Disability

Can an employee that has tested positive on a random drug screen and has been suspended from work request to file a short term disability claim while on suspension?

The question is probably not so much if the employee can request short-term disability but rather do you have to grant this request. You do not indicate what state you are in, so I am going to assume that this is a benefit offered by the company that is not state-mandated. In this case, the company is free to establish their own policies regarding eligibility, such as when an employee is or is not eligible, any waiting periods, etc.  Your first step will be to review your short-term disability policy and see exactly what the qualifications are. Some policies require that an employee be actively at work at the time of the disability notice. If the suspension does not meet your company’s definition of being actively at work, this employee would not be eligible for the benefit.

If after reviewing your short-term disability policy it is determined that the employee is eligible, you will then want to review your drug policy, especially if the employee is requesting the short- term disability to seek treatment for her drug addiction.  Some drug policies state that if an employee comes forward on his own & requests time off for drug treatment, then the company will assist him, while those employees who test positive during random or other drug screens will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Other policies do allow employees to request drug treatment if they test positive during a screen.

As a side note, be aware that individuals who are current users of illegal drugs, as evidenced by a positive random drug screen, are not considered disabled under ADA guidelines.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 27th, 2014 at 10:48 am and is filed under
Benefits, Human Resources Management, Termination, Workplace Health & Safety.
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