Tips for Hiring a Prevailing Wage Worker with History of Substance Abuse

Hiring Tips for Prevailing Wage Contractors

A prevailing wage contractor is not required to tolerate the use of drugs or alcohol in the workplace. However, one must still be careful so that they will not discriminate a prevailing wage worker who has a history of substance abuse but no longer using it.

Here are some important points that you should remember if you ever you find yourself in this situation.

1.      Know the signs of a prevailing wage worker that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

A prevailing wage contractor should be aware of the signs of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This includes unexplained absences, frequent tardiness, inconsistent performance, bloodshot eyes and nonchalance to one’s hygiene or appearance. This will allow him to address the issue right away and provide support to the prevailing wage worker.

2.      Accommodate the needs of prevailing wage workers who are dealing with substance abuse.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) provides protection to prevailing wage workers against discrimination since alcoholism and past illegal drug use is considered a perceived disability or qualifying disability.

For example, a prevailing wage contractor should allow an employee who need to leave work early to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting under this act. The ADA is applicable to businesses who have more than 15 employees. It protects a prevailing wage worker that:

  • Has successfully completed rehabilitation and no longer uses illegal drugs;
  • Currently participates in a rehab program and no longer uses illegal drugs;
  • Was mistakenly regarded as an illegal drug user.

3.      Be updated on the state laws regarding prevailing wage workers with history of substance abuse.

Some state laws give more protection than the ADA. For instance, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) of California covers disabilities and medical conditions. It has a wider coverage than ADA. It protects a prevailing wage worker who has an impairment that restricts a major life activity, as compared to the ADA that protects a worker with an impairment that substantially restricts a life activity. 

4.      A drug and alcohol policy is still allowed to be implemented despite consideration for those who have a history of substance abuse.

Even though protection is given by the ADA, this should not hinder the prevailing wage contractor from implementing a drug and alcohol policy in the workplace. However, the policy should be written in such a way that a prevailing wage worker that has addiction problems will not find it hard to come forward.

Take note, the employee can still get fired if he gets caught taking illegal drugs despite the accommodation given to him.

ARCHER JORDAN Helps You Manage Your Prevailing Wage Workers Successfully

Every prevailing wage worker should have a chance to lead a healthy lifestyle. This includes those who had a previous history of substance abuse. ARCHER JORDAN can give you advice on how you can provide support to your employees. Call us today for a chat with our fringe benefit specialists!