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Drug Free Workplace and Employee Drug and Alcohol Testing - October 2011 Revision

Note: This procedural directive was reviewed and revised in October 2011. We provide this revision for historic purposes only. Please refer to the current procedural directive.

Definitions

For purposes of this procedural directive, “motor vehicle accident” means unintended occurrence involving collision between the district's vehicle and/or district-owned or other’s property which results in injury and/or damage to a vehicle or property.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “alcohol” means the intoxicating agent in beverage alcohol, ethyl alcohol, or other low molecular weight alcohol including methyl and isopropyl alcohol.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “illegal drugs” means a controlled substance as defined by the United States Code, the possession of which is unlawful.  The term "illegal drugs" does not mean the use of controlled substances pursuant to a valid prescription or other use authorized by law.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “a legally prescribed drug” means that the individual has a prescription or other written approval form a physician for the use of a drug in the course of medical treatment.  It shall include the patient’s name, the name of the substance, quantity/amount to be taken, and the period of authorization.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “medical review officer” means the contractor responsible for receiving laboratory results generated from the Albuquerque Public Schools who is a licensed physician with knowledge of substance abuse disorders and the appropriate medical training to interpret and evaluate all positive test results together with an employee's biomedical information.  If the MRO verifies that the employee has a valid prescription that explains the positive drug test result the drug test result is reported as negative by the MRO.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “reasonable suspicion” may be found where a supervisor or district employee detects indicators of controlled substance use or alcohol abuse and has made observations regarding an employee that are specific, contemporaneous, and articulable, and relate to the employee’s appearance, behavior, speech, and/or body odors.  The observations relating to the alcohol testing must be made during, just preceding, or just after the period of the work day.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “refusal to submit to testing” will constitute a violation of this procedural directive.  The following behavior constitutes a refusal:

  • Refusal to submit to test.
  • Inability to provide sufficient quantities of breath, blood or urine (whichever is required) to be tested without a valid medical explanation.
  • Tampering with, diluting or attempting to adulterate the specimen or collection procedure.
  • Not reporting to the collection site in the time allotted.
  • Leaving the scene of an accident without a valid reason before the tests have been conducted.
  • Submitting samples other than their own.
  • Attempting to influence the collection/processing staff.

For purposes of this procedural directive, “work place” means any location where the employee must be to carry on the duties of employment and includes both on and off district property locations.

General Provisions

Because substance abuse seriously endangers the safety of students and employees, the district has established this program to detect users and abusers of alcohol, drugs, or other controlled substances. The district shall be committed to preventing the use and/or presence of these substances in the work place.

Albuquerque Public Schools prohibits the sale, use, possession, transfer of, or being under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, hallucinogens, inhalants, or drugs or possession of drug paraphernalia in the workplace by an Albuquerque Public Schools employee, on district property or at any district-sponsored activity.  Any employee found to be engaging in any of the above behaviors shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary measures.

Although this procedural directive refers specifically to alcohol and drugs, it is intended to apply to all forms of substance abuse, including the misuse of legally prescribed drugs or the sale, use, possession, transfer of, or being under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, hallucinogens, inhalants, or drugs or possession of drug paraphernalia in the workplace.  Employees on duty, or on district property; or in attendance at district-sponsored activity, shall not be under any degree of intoxication or odor from alcohol.  No employee shall report for duty or remain on duty when his/her ability to perform assigned functions is adversely affected by alcohol or when his/her breath alcohol concentration is greater than 0.02.

Any supervisor who suspects an employee is under the influence, and allows that employee to perform work duties, also shall be considered in violation of Board of Education policy and this procedural directive.  Violation of these provisions shall be prohibited and punishable by disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Legal Drugs

Albuquerque Public Schools shall not prohibit the appropriate use of legally prescribed drugs and non-prescription medications.  However, the use of any substance that carriers a warning label that indicates that mental functioning, motor skills or judgment may be adversely affected shall be reported the employee’s supervisor and medical advice shall be sought by the employee, as appropriate, before performing work-related duties.

The misuse or abuse of legal drugs while performing transportation business shall be prohibited.

Responsibilities of Albuquerque Public Schools Employees

In compliance with federal and state statute and regulation and Board of Education policy, Albuquerque Public Schools shall be a drug free workplace.  Albuquerque Public Schools employees shall be expected to be knowledgeable of existing related Board of Education policies and administrative procedural directives.

District employees shall be made aware of the availability of counseling and support systems such as the Employee Assistance Program provided by the district directly or indirectly through community referral for himself/herself or friends.  District employees shall be encouraged to self-report alcohol or drug abuse so they may be referred to these services.

District employees shall have the right to confidentiality when assistance is sought voluntarily for drug and/or alcohol problems.

Testing for Drugs and Alcohol

The district shall utilize drug and alcohol testing for employees as follows:

  • Applicants offered conditional employment as Albuquerque Public schools police officers, civilian police positions with evidence handling responsibilities, and positions requiring a commercial drivers’ license shall be tested.
  • Employees shall be tested based upon reasonable suspicion.
  • Employees shall be tested following motor vehicle accidents involving district-owned vehicles.
  • All results shall be directed to Human Resources for possible discipline if necessary.
  • Employees who complete a rehabilitation program shall be tested periodically without notice for a set period as required by a physician, therapist, or counselor designated by the district or by its designated medical provider.
  • Albuquerque Public Schools police officers, civilian police positions with evidence handling responsibilities, drivers whose jobs require a commercial driver’s license shall be subject to random testing each month.  Random selections shall be made by the district’s medical review officer contractor.

The district shall be responsible for the cost of all testing, including any post-offer, pre-employment drug testing, post-accident testing, and reasonable suspicion testing.

If an employee's or applicant's test is positive for substance use, he/she shall have the right to request, in writing to the district, that the specimen be reanalyzed by an accredited independent agency to verify the validity of the results.  Costs for the review shall be borne by the district.

All positive test results shall be given to the medical review officer and shall be strictly confidential with access limited to authorized staff.

All positive test results may be subject to discipline from the district’s disciplinary committee.

Post-Offer of Employment, Pre-Employment Testing

Applicants for Albuquerque Public Schools police officers, police civilian positions with evidence handling responsibilities and for positions which require a commercial drivers’ license shall report to the district contracted testing facility with photo identification.  The drug/alcohol test shall be undertaken as soon as possible following the conditional offer of employment.  Applicants who refuse the pre-employment screen, or who have a confirmed positive screening, shall not be eligible for employment.  The district shall be responsible for the cost of any post-offer, pre-employment drug testing.

Post-Accident Testing

If an employee is involved in a motor vehicle accident in a district-owned vehicle, the employee shall report the accident to their supervisor and shall be required to report to the nearest district contracted testing facility with photo identification, accompanied by their supervisor, for alcohol/drug screening.  Refusal by the employee to take the required test(s) or a positive test result shall be grounds for the full range of disciplinary actions, including termination/discharge.

Alcohol Testing

The employee involved in the accident who is subject to testing shall make himself/herself available for testing for up to eight (8) hours and no alcohol shall be consumed by the driver for eight (8) hours or until an approved breath alcohol test is performed.  No breath alcohol test shall be performed after eight (8) hours from the time of the accident.

Drug Testing

A urine collection for drug testing shall be conducted no later than thirty-two (32) hours from the time of the initial accident.

Random Testing

The district shall require monthly random testing for Albuquerque Public Schools police officers, police civilian positions with evidence handling responsibilities, and employees whose positions require commercial drivers’ license in accordance with Board of Education policy and New Mexico Department of Transportation regulations.  Employees selected for random monthly testing shall report to the nearest district contracted testing facility within one (1) hour of notification with photo identification.

Reasonable Suspicion Testing

All employees shall be subject to reasonable suspicion drug testing.  A reasonable suspicion may be found where a supervisor or district employee detects indicators of controlled substance use or alcohol abuse and has made observations regarding an employee that are specific, contemporaneous, and articulable, and relate to the employee’s appearance, behavior, speech, and/or body odors.  The observations relating to the alcohol testing shall be made during, just preceding, or just after the period of the work day.  An employee may be directed to take a reasonable suspicion controlled substance test only while the employee is performing, just before performing or just after performing his/her job duties.

Whenever there is reasonable suspicion on the part of the supervisor that an employee may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the supervisor shall:

  • Gather all information, facts, and circumstances leading to and supporting the suspicion.
  • Confer with Human Resources and Risk Management Departments to determine if reasonable suspicion for a test exists.
  • Prepare a written report detailing the circumstances which formed the basis to warrant the testing. The report shall include the appropriate dates and times of reported drug/alcohol related incidents, reliable/credible sources of information, rationale leading to the test, and the action taken.

Reasonable suspicion testing may be based upon, among other things:

  • Observable phenomena, such as direct observation of drug/alcohol use or possession and/or the physical symptoms of being under the influence of drug/alcohol, or a pattern of abnormal or erratic behavior.
  • Abnormal conduct or erratic behavior may include the following, which are not all inclusive:
    • Abnormally dilated or constricted pupils
    • Glazed stare - redness of eyes
    • Change of speech (i.e. faster or slower)
    • Constant sniffing
    • Redness under nose
    • Needle marks
    • Change in personality
    • Forgetfulness
    • Constant fatigue or hyperactivity
    • Smell of alcohol
    • Slurred speech
    • Difficulty walking
    • Slowed reaction rate
    • Dulled mental processes
    • Information provided either by reliable and credible sources or independently corroborated; or newly discovered evidence that the employee has tampered with a previous drug/alcohol test.
    • Although reasonable suspicion testing does not require certainty, mere "hunches" are not sufficient to meet this standard.

If reasonable suspicion for a test has been verified by Human Resources and Risk Management, the employee will be required to immediately be taken to the nearest district contracted testing facility with photo identification for alcohol/drug screening.

Testing Process

The district contracts with an outside, independent testing laboratory for alcohol and drug testing.  Laboratories shall be New Mexico Department of Health and Human Services approved and National Institute on Drug Abuse certified.  Certified laboratories shall be required to follow New Mexico Department of Transportation regulations and procedures in all of its collection and testing processes.  This shall include the following:

  • A secure laboratory site with limited access to authorized personnel and approved security measures in place.
  • The following of strict chain-of-custody guidelines that maintains control and accountability from the collection through the testing process.
  • Both an initial screening test and a confirmation test shall be used. The confirmation test shall be a Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS).
  • Both testing techniques shall use the New Mexico Department of Transportation -specified cutoff levels for all substances tested.
  • Reporting of test results by the lab shall be to the medical review officer  for purposes of verification.  
    • The medical review officer shall be a licensed physician with knowledge of substance abuse disorders.  The role of the medical review officer is to review and interpret confirmed positive test results and examine any medical explanations for the results.
    • If the confirmed result is positive, the medical review officer shall attempt to contact the applicant/employee, in confidence, to discuss the positive result. The medical review officer shall talk directly with the individual before verifying a positive result.  If the medical review officer is unable to contact the employee directly, the medical review officer will contact the designated official in Risk Management and Human Resources who shall attempt to contact the individual.
    • Verified test results shall be reported to the Director of Risk Management and Human Resources.  The employee may request a copy of the test results.
    • Within three (3) days of a verified positive test, the employee may request a confirmatory re-test of the original sample at their own expense.   The district shall not consider results of tests on other samples.

Violations

Violation of this directive will be grounds for disciplinary action subject to applicable New Mexico law, due process requirements, and/or any other applicable laws, regulations, policies and procedures.  Violations of this directive include, without limitation:

  • Testing positive in a confirmed test;
  • Refusing to submit to testing;
  • Failing to adhere to a rehabilitation program required by the District or medical provider.
  • A positive test for controlled substances shall be in accordance with DOT-specified levels.  A positive test for alcohol consumption is an alcohol concentration of, or greater than 0.02%

Disciplinary action shall not be avoided by a request at that time for treatment or rehabilitation.

Employees Voluntarily Seeking Assistance

Employees shall not be terminated for voluntarily seeking assistance for a substance abuse problem.  An employee who seeks such assistance may still be disciplined for other performance, attendance, or behavioral problems.  Any voluntary actions must occur before selection for drug or alcohol testing.

Employees who seek assistance under this procedural directive shall follow the steps below before being returned to service or allowed to continue work.

  • Employees shall be placed on leave and shall be required to execute a written agreement which:
    • Acknowledges that they violated Board of Education policy and this procedural directive; and
    • States that in exchange for the district not terminating them for violating Board of Education policy and this procedural directive, they agree to undergo rehabilitation, counseling, or other activities prescribed by the district or licensed substance abuse professional medical provider.
    • Employees shall not be returned to work or be allowed to continue working until they have been evaluated by a physician, therapist, or counselor designated by the district who certifies that, in his/her best judgment, the employee no longer uses drugs and/or other prohibited substances and may safely return to duty.
    • Employees shall undergo additional periodic testing without notice for a set period as required by a physician, therapist, or counselor designated by the district or by its designated medical provider.
    • If, within one-hundred twenty-five (125) days of seeking assistance under this procedural directive a physician, therapist, or counselor designated by the district certifies that in his/her best judgment, the employee is not recovering from a drug or alcohol dependence, that the employee is currently using drugs and/or other prohibited substances, that the employee's involvement with drugs and/or other prohibited substances is an on-going problem, and that the employee may not safely return to duty, the district may terminate the employee, in accordance with state statute and regulation, due process requirements, and/or other applicable laws or regulations.
    • This process shall not require and shall not result in any special regulations, privileges, or exemptions from an employee's normal job performance requirements.
    • The district shall not be responsible for the costs of rehabilitation.  The employee shall be responsible for all such costs.

Administrative Position: Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources

Department Director: Director of Risk Management

References

Legal Cross Ref.:

  • Public Law 100-690
  • Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988
  • Drug Free Schools and Communities Act, as amended in 1989

Board Policy Cross Ref.:

Procedural Directive Cross Ref.:

NSBA/NEPN Classification: ECAE, GBEC

Approved: April 2006
Revised: July 2007
Reviewed: August 19, 2011
Revised: October 21, 2011

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