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Wal-Mart Drug Policy

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Every company should take precautions to protect their employees and customers from the effects of substance abuse. Wal-Mart, being the largest employer in the United States (Charles Schoncheck, personal communication, September 25, 2009), has a vital interest in maintaining safe, healthful and efficient working conditions for all associates. Alcohol and illegal drug use pose a serious threat to workplace safety and health. Associates who abuse alcohol or use drugs are a danger to themselves, co-workers and customers. This paper will describe the drug free workplace policy which Wal-Mart has in place. This paper will also cover how the company trains supervisors and managers to detect and manage substance abuse issues in the workplace.

The drug policy at Wal-Mart states that “the use, possession, sale, transfer, or purchase of illegal drugs at any time is strictly prohibited… Any violation of this policy will be grounds for immediate termination and may result in a report to the appropriate law enforcement authorities” (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2008). Managers who suspect an associate is under the influence must first contact the facility manager who must also observe the associate in question to determine whether their actions are a result of drug or alcohol use. Upon observation, when the facility manager agrees that the actions constitute a drug test, she/he must contact the Home Office Drug Screening department to request a Reasonable Suspicion drug test.

“No test will be performed until the factual basis for the test has been communicated for approval to the Home Office Drug Screening Department” (Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 2008). Refusal by any associate to report for testing will result in immediate termination. The company does not specifically train managers and supervisors on detection of substance abuse issues. This could become a problem if managers are not aware of what their associates’ problems are. Drug abuse problems could be attributed to something as simple as a bad attitude or poor work ethics and be over looked when there is a deeper problem present.

The policy also states that any associate who comes forward and voluntarily admits to having an alcohol or drug use problem will not be terminated, but will be required to seed counseling and will be periodically drug tested for 12 months. Associates may use approved medical leave during times of recovery for in-house treatment. All expenses incurred by the associate for treatment of drug or alcohol abuse are the responsibility of the associate. Wal-Mart does not provide any sort of employee assistance for treatment of drug or alcohol abuse. It is the opinion of this author that the company would be more productive and profitable if there was more support for employees looking for help. Instead, associates who look for help from the company are subject to scrutiny and are more likely to be terminated than if they kept quiet about their problem.

ReferencesWal-Mart Stores, Inc.. (2008). Statement of Ethics. Retrieved October 4, 2009, from walmartstores.com/download/203

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