* Press release…
Rauner Administration to Implement Reasonable Suspicion of Alcohol and Drug Testing
Governor Bruce Rauner’s Administration today announced that the state will begin testing employees who exhibit behaviors that create a reasonable suspicion that they are under the influence of a banned substance or alcohol.
“Employees who are under the influence of a banned substance or alcohol while on the job present a risk to their co-workers and to the taxpayers they serve,” said Dennis Murashko, the Governor’s General Counsel. “Being impaired also prevents employees from being able to perform their job duties effectively. By implementing this commonsense proposal, we are taking the necessary steps to further protect the health and safety of our employees and those they serve.”
The proposal, which was part of the state’s last, best and final offer during contract negotiations, does not allow for random drug and alcohol testing. Rather, it only allows the state to test employees if “specific objective facts and circumstances warrant rational inferences that a person may be under the influence of alcohol or a banned substance.”
Those “facts and circumstances” include:
· Observable phenomena such as direct observation of use or the physical symptoms of using or being under the influence of controlled substances such as, but not limited to: slurred speech, direct involvement in a serious accident, or disorientation;
· A pattern of abnormal conduct or erratic behavior; and,
· Information provided either by reliable and credible sources or which is independently corroborated.
Guidance will be provided to supervisors on what types of behavior create a reasonable suspicion that an employee is under the influence of alcohol or a banned substance. Generally, employees that test positively for intoxication will be suspended for 30 days and will be enrolled in a confidential Employee Assistance Program for substance abuse treatment and rehabilitation. All records concerning tests would remain confidential.
*** UPDATE *** AFSCME’s response to the governor’s move…
“They’re trying to distract from their refusal to negotiate. They’re trying to distract from their attempt to force working people to pay 100 percent more for health care. They’re trying to distract from their attempt to cut the pay of public service workers,” AFSCME Council 31 spokesman Anders Lindall said.
Lindall said AFSCME – which represents 38,000 state workers – would challenge in court any attempt to carry out the drug and alcohol testing policy.
“The Rauner administration broke off negotiations and walked away from the bargaining table back in January, and has wasted more than 10 months in refusing to even meet with our union bargaining committee. If they want to address this issue or any other issue, they should renew negotiations,” he said.