Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Work Is No Place for Drugs

Magazine article Journal of Property Management

Work Is No Place for Drugs

Article excerpt

Substance abuse in the workplace poses a tremendous threat to property, to tenants, to employees, and to the abusers themselves.

Studies by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimate that at least 10 percent of the workforce is afflicted with alcoholism or drug addiction. An additional 10 percent is affected by the substance abuse of an immediate family member. These staggering figures take their toll on every business.

A substance abuser's diminished capacity to react can result in reduced productivity, a greater likelihood of errors, and a less effective response to both routine problems and emergencies. A study of United Airlines employees found that absenteeism among participants in a substance abuse treatment program dropped between 74 and 80 percent. At the same time, job performance ratings for the group rose by an average of 3.5 points.

While no employer condones the use of drugs on the job, some managers are required by federal law to actively work against workplace drug abuse. Under the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, contractors who work for the federal government must certify that they maintain a workplace free from drugs and must notify employees in writing that using, distributing, or possessing controlled substances in the workplace is prohibited.

Employers must also inform employees that abiding by this written statement is a condition of employment. The Act further requires employers to take appropriate personnel action--such as enrolling employees in a rehabilitation program--if drug use is found.

The Drug Free Workplace Act applies only to property managers who contract with the federal government, including those managing property for the GSA, HUD, the RTC, the FmHA, or the VA. However, the intent of the Act is one that should be embraced by every private-sector employer.

Develop a comprehensive, written anti-drug policy and make everyone in the company aware of it. …

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