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Policy 7050 Implementation Procedures - Drug Use by Employees: Illegal Drugs, Drug Paraphernalia and Controlled Substances

Implementation Procedures

I. Definitions

Within the context of this policy, the following definitions apply:

  1. Currently Engaged – Using illegal drugs or abusing controlled substances recently enough to justify the Superintendent/Designee’s reasonable suspicion that involvement with illegal drugs or controlled substances is an ongoing problem. Current engagement is not limited to the day of use or recent week or days in terms of an employment action.

  2. Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – A program designed to identify employee needs and provide subsequent referral recommendations, services, and/or resources in areas including, but not limited to, drug and substance abuse, alcoholism, and interpersonal, financial, or legal concerns.

  3. Reasonable Suspicion – A belief based on facts or on the rational inferences that may be drawn from such facts.

  4. Rehabilitation – The method used (including medical and psychological) to address the treatment and/or regression of any aspect connected with the use of illegal drugs or the abuse of a controlled substance.

II. Investigation of Alleged Violations

  1. When the Superintendent/Designee receives notice of an alleged violation of the provisions of Policy 7050 Drug Use by Employees: Illegal Drugs, Drug Paraphernalia and Controlled Substances, the following actions will be taken:

    The Superintendent/Designee will conduct an investigation into the alleged violation and make a determination regarding the employee’s involvement in the alleged violation.

    1. The investigation will be conducted promptly.

    2. The employee may be placed on administrative leave with or without pay while the investigation is being conducted.

    3. Physical evidence will be preserved for later use during the investigation and/or by the proper authorities.

    4. Circumstantial evidence may be used to prove a violation of this policy, including a violation based on constructive possession.

    5. Due process will be utilized during the investigation. Due process includes the following steps:

      1. The Superintendent/Designee will specify, to the employee, the portion(s) of the policy allegedly violated, the date(s) of the alleged violation(s), and the specific action(s) that constitutes the alleged violation.

      2. The employee will be notified of the date, time, and place to respond to the charges of the alleged violation.

    6. An employee has the right to respond to the allegations; however, failure to respond does not preclude the Superintendent/Designee from taking disciplinary action.

  2. At the conclusion of the investigation, which will include a conference with the employee, the Superintendent/Designee will provide the employee a written decision containing:

    1. A brief finding of facts

    2. A determination as to whether there has been a policy violation, including the part of policy violated if applicable

    3. Any disciplinary action to be taken and the effective date of such action. Such disciplinary action may include, but is not limited to:

      1. Verbal and/or written reprimand

      2. Suspension from employment with or without pay

      3. Termination from employment.

  3. If an employee has been placed on administrative leave without pay during the course of the investigation and it is determined that no policy violation occurred, the employee will be awarded all back pay lost during the period of administrative leave without pay.

  4. The Superintendent will comply with the State Board of Education, the Maryland Board of Nursing regulations, and any other licensing boards regarding the suspension and revocation of teaching certificates and/or licenses in applicable cases.

III. Drug or Alcohol Testing

  1. The Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) has the right to conduct drug or alcohol testing on any employee based on reasonable suspicion of a policy violation and/or to ensure compliance with any aspect of a disciplinary action. Failure to comply with a drug or alcohol test notification or the alteration of a sample may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

  2. All drug testing of employees shall comply with Section 17-214 of the Health General Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland and COMAR regarding the certification of any laboratory testing specimen.

  3. If the employee has tested positive for the use of any illegal drug and/or the abuse of any controlled substance, the HCPSS will, after confirmation of the test results, supply the employee with:

    1. A copy of the test result

    2. A copy of the Howard County Public School System’s written policy and implementation procedures on drug abuse

    3. If applicable, written notice of the Howard County Public School System’s intention to take disciplinary action, and

    4. A statement or copy of the Annotated Code, Health General Article, Section 17-214 (e), which permits an employee to request independent testing of the same sample for verification of the test result.

    This statement will be delivered to the employee in person or by certified mail and within seven (7) days from the date the test was performed. (COMAR

IV. Referral/Treatment for Employees

  1. An employee may be required to participate in a fitness for duty evaluation and any resulting treatment recommendations designed to address illegal drug use or controlled substance abuse and related problems.

    1. This participation may be required as a condition of returning to employment, continued employment, or as associated with disciplinary action.

    2. The employee may be required to provide the Superintendent/Designee with evidence of participation and compliance with recommendations as a condition of continued employment or returning to employment.

  2. Participation in a treatment program will be treated in a confidential manner. Treatment programs may include, but are not limited to, the following:

    1. Individual and/or group counseling with an individual and/or agency approved by the Superintendent/Designee or through the Employee Assistance Program

    2. Medical treatment prescribed by or through a licensed health care provider or medical program

    3. Treatment programs available through and/or prescribed by an approved health maintenance organization or health insurance provider

    4. Group programs such as Narcotics Anonymous.

  3. Participation in a treatment program does not exempt an employee from performing their assigned job responsibilities in a satisfactory manner.

V. Non-Discrimination Against Prior Users

  1. HCPSS will not take disciplinary action against an employee who has used illegal drugs or abused controlled substances if they meet the following conditions:

    The employee:

    1. Voluntarily admits that they have used illegal drugs or abused controlled substances prior to being identified through other means

    2. Is not currently engaged in the use of illegal drugs or the abuse of controlled substances

    3. Has completed, or is in the process of completing, a treatment or rehabilitation program

    4. Did not endanger any student or other employee through his/her use of illegal drugs or abuse of controlled substances

    5. Did not use illegal drugs or abuse controlled substances on school system property or at a school-sponsored event

    6. Thereafter refrains from using illegal drugs or abusing noncontrolled substances.

      1. The Superintendent/Designee will set terms and conditions for continued employment.

      2. Such terms and conditions may include participation in a treatment program as outlined in Section IV.

  2. Any employee who meets the criteria set forth above in V.A will not be subject to disciplinary action, unless the employee fails to comply with the terms and conditions for continued employment.

    1. In the event the employee is charged with failure to comply with the terms and conditions of continued employment, the employee shall be afforded due process as outlined in Section II.A.4.

    2. If it is determined that the employee violated the terms and conditions for continued employment, then the employee will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

VI. History

ADOPTED: September 13, 1990

AMENDED: August 22, 1996, June 12, 1997, April 15, 2010

EFFECTIVE: July 1, 2010