Ohio University

Reasonable Suspicion Testing: Process, Forms, and Tips

Ohio University supports and will maintain a drug-free working and living environment to provide for the health and safety of students, employees, and visitors. As noted in Policy 41.133, employees are strictly prohibited to use, possess, manufacture or distribute drugs and/alcohol, or be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, while in the workplace or in University vehicles and equipment and while on duty. This includes the misuse or inappropriate use of prescription medications and drugs.

 

In cases where there is suspicion that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is important that a supervisor be notified immediately. Immediately upon notice, managers should be prepared to engage with the guidelines for reasonable suspicion testing as outlined by University Human Resources in the Reasonable Suspicion Testing Process (PDF) or refer to the information outlined below:

Assess For Immediate Threat

The manager/supervisor will assess the situation. If there is an immediate threat of personal harm to the individual in question, to others, or the potential for damage to university property, notify the Ohio University Police Department (593-1911) if on the Athens Campus, the Athens Police Department (593-6606 or 911) if within the City of Athens, or the Athens County Sheriff’s Department (593-6633) if outside the Athens City limits. Regional campuses should contact their local law enforcement agency. If an immediate threat is not present, proceed to next step.

Identify Second Witness and Notify HR Liaison

The manager/supervisor should solicit witness support from another supervisor. The HR Liaison should also be notified as soon as possible. Both witnesses should be prepared to engage with the employee as outlined in next steps. Throughout this process, the supervisor(s) or witness(es) should not touch the employee and should not leave the employee alone.

Engage with Employee

Have a general conversation with the employee. Observe their appearance and behavior using indicators from the Reasonable Suspicion Checklist (DOCX).

Following interaction with the employee if the supervisor/manager and the witness believe that the individual may be in violation of the university’s Alcohol and Other Drug policy, the employee should be escorted to an area where a conversation with the employee may take place in private. Notify the employee that they may be in violation of University policy. Supervisor should also provide verbal referral to IMPACT EAP (website) at this time. All interaction with the employee should be handled discreetly and any information obtained should only be shared with those that need to know.

Provide Reasonable Suspicion Testing Consent Form

Provide the employee with the Reasonable Suspicion Testing Consent Form (PDF).  Review the form with the employee indicating that refusal to consent for testing may subject the employee to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

If Employee Consents, Accompany Employee to Testing

If the employee signs the consent form agreeing to testing, both the supervisor and witness should transport the employee to the appropriate testing center. The method of transport must be via departmentally-owned vehicle or via Transportation and Parking Services (contact via phone at 593-1917, Monday – Friday 7:30 –5:00; ask for Operations Supervisor and tell them you are requesting a reasonable suspicion transport).

UHR is working diligently with regional service providers to secure contracts for testing sites for all regional and extension campuses; service locations will be announced soon. Location and hours of operation for the testing centers for the Athens campus are as follows:

  • OhioHealth WorkHealth
    (Castrop Center)
    75 Hospital Drive, Suite 370
    Athens, Ohio 45701
    614-566-WORK (9675)
    Hours: 7 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday – Friday
     
  • OhioHealth Urgent Care Athens
    265 West Union Street, Suite A
    Athens, Ohio 45701
    740-594-2456
    Hours: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday – Thursday; 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday – Sunday
     
  • OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital
    Emergency Department
    55 Hospital Drive
    Athens, Ohio 45701
    Hours: After 9 p.m., Monday-Thursday only; after 6 p.m., Friday – Sunday only
Employee Refusal of Testing

If the employee refuses to sign the consent form indicating non-agreement to testing, the employee will be directed to not drive or complete the work shift and will be required to arrange for transportation to return home.

Arrange Transportation Home

Once the employee has been tested or if the employee refuses testing, the employee will be directed to not drive or return to work to complete the shift.  The employee must arrange for transportation to return home.  The supervisor may either wait with the employee at the testing center until the employee’s transportation home arrives or the supervisor may wait with the employee at the work site for the transportation home to arrive.

If the employee refuses to arrange for transportation home and indicates/shows signs that they will be operating a vehicle, the supervisor will call the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) 1-800-GRABDUI (1-800-472-2384) and advise them that the employee, who is believed to be impaired, is leaving the workplace. The manager/supervisor should report as much information as possible to OSHP.

Follow-Up

After the immediate situation has been handled, the supervisor should consult with the unit’s HR Liaison to discuss next steps including any relevant incident reports if injury has occurred, documentation of the situation (including the completed Reasonable Suspension Checklist), disciplinary action, EAP referral, etc. 

Reasonable Suspicion Training

Central sessions of Reasonable Suspicion Training will be available through University Human Resources on a semi-annual basis. During the rollout of the training Fall 2019, three pilot sessions will be available and open to campus and participants may register online. Additionally, departments may request ad hoc sessions for groups of ten or more participants. For more information, or to schedule a training session, please contact your HR Liaison. 

Tips for Success

The need for reasonable suspicion testing is a rare occurrence, but requires immediate action. Therefore, it is important that departments are well-prepared for instances before they arise. All departments should establish a process for identifying supervisors and back-up witnesses for both normal operating hours and non-work hours. The plan should include an escalation path in case a contact is unavailable and should include contact information for each identified individual. Managers and supervisors should be familiar with this plan and should ensure that all employees are informed of policy and have a point of contact should they have concern about any potential policy violation.