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How Motorola Enforces Its Drug-free Policy

May 1, 1993
Related Topics: Substance Abuse, Featured Article
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Motorola's drug policy is stated simply: "No use of illegal drugs; no use of legal drugs illegally." To enforce the policy, the Schaumburg, Illinois-based electronics manufacturer instituted a universal drug-testing program on January 1, 1991. HR administers the program. Here's how it works.

Every employee's name—including that of the chairman and the contractors who remain on company premises for longer than 30 days—becomes part of a data base. A specially designed computer program selects from each Motorola site employee names to be tested each day. The computer program ensures that every employee is selected at least once in three years for a drug test. It's possible, however, for some employees to be selected more than once during that period. This is designed to prevent an employee's feeling safe from testing after taking one test. When the computer selects names of workers who are sick, on vacation or away from the job site for any other legitimate reason, those names are put into a pool to be selected again randomly within 90 days.

After selecting the names of individuals to be tested on a particular day, an HR clerk informs the employees' supervisors, who are responsible for relying the information to the employees. This serves two purposes. Not only does it get the information to the employees who will be tested, but it also allows the supervisors to prepare for those employees' brief absences. The employees whose names are selected must report at their designated times. Failure to do so results in disciplinary action.

The collection area prepares split samples for the Motorola employees, allowing for analyses from two different labs if the employees request it. If an employee's test comes out positive, the company's medical-review officer is contacted. The medical-review officer discusses the situation with the employee to determine if there's some legitimate reason—such as a prescription drug that the employee forgot to mention—for a positive result. Except in security-sensitive positions, it's up to the employee to decide whether or not his or her supervisor should be notified of the results.

If it's determined that a drug-abuse problem exists, the next step for the employee is to report to HR to set up a meeting with an EAP advisor and plan a rehabilitation method. The company pays for the employee's rehabilitation. "We're trying to do as much as we can on the rehabilitation side, as opposed to the discipline or punitive side," says Don Cramer, Motorola's assistant corporate director of employee relations.

All employees, except some in safety-sensitive or security-clearance positions, continue working in their jobs during rehabilitation. (An exception is when the rehabilitation requires an extended stay at an inpatient treatment center.) The government requires that the organization report any positive tests of individuals who work in clearance-type operations. If the government deems it appropriate to suspend the employee's safety clearance, Motorola will have to remove the employee from that position. The company will try to place that employee into another position temporarily.

Similarly, if an employee who tests positive works in a safety-sensitive position, the organization will place the employee into another job during rehabilitation, if recommended by the EAP. Removal from the position is contingent on circumstances.

After employees complete their rehabilitation programs, their names go into a special random pool. Motorola tests these employees once every 120 days for a one-year period.

If during this one-year period an employee again tests positive, the organization terminates him or her. If, however, all tests following rehabilitation come out negative, the employee's name goes back into the three-year pool, and he or she begins the testing process again.

Personnel Journal, May 1993, Vol. 72, No. 5, p. 54.

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