FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: MARTHA DEACON
AUGUST 30, 2007
(615) 741-2257
 


TENNESSEE’S DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE PROGRAM CONTINUES TO GROW
EMPLOYER PARTICIPATION INCREASES AT LEAST 30 PERCENT EACH YEAR

 

NASHVILLE – Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner, James G. Neeley, is proud to announce the high growth rates of the Drug-Free Workplace Program. Since the program began in April 1998 approximately 7,300 employers (or 18 percent of working Tennesseans) have become participants.

 

“The Drug-Free Workplace Program promotes a safer workplace, lower absenteeism, higher employee morale, and improved employer goodwill,” said Commissioner Neeley.  

 

“Employers report increased productivity and higher product quality, and we see fewer workers’ compensation claims and less use of health insurance programs,” said James. W. Farmer, director of the Drug-Free Workplace Program, “Such enhancements result in improved profit margins for the employer.”

 

If employers choose to participate in the Drug-Free Workplace Program they are entitled to receive a five percent premium credit on their workers' compensation insurance policy. They are also able to discharge or discipline an employee, or refuse to hire a job applicant, who is found to be in violation of the covered employer's Drug Free Workplace Program. Also, if an employee suffers a workplace injury and receives a positive confirmed post-accident drug test for illegal use of drugs or alcohol, or refuses to submit to a post-accident drug or alcohol test, the burden of proof is shifted to the employee.

 

On behalf of the program Farmer says, “This program has two basic objectives: to promote drug-free workplaces and to discourage the use of illegal drugs by employees. I believe the record will show that we have passed several of the milestones on the road to accomplishing those objectives.” Farmer goes on to say, “The Drug-Free Workplace Program is good for the employer, good for the employee, and since it’s not legal in Tennessee to use prohibited drugs under any circumstance it’s the right thing to do.”

 

Below is a growth chart of employers who have joined the Drug-Free Workplace Program since its start:

 

Date

Number of Employers

Percent Increase

12/31/1998

134

 

12/31/1999

418

212%

12/31/2000

685

64%

12/31/2001

1,066

56%

12/31/2002

1,576

48%

12/31/2003

2,216

41%

12/31/2004

2,884

30%

12/31/2005

3,809

32%

12/31/2006

5,449

43%

08/24/2007

7,294

34%

For more information about the Drug-Free Workplace Program go to http://tennessee.gov/labor-wfd/dfwp.html or call (615) 532-1321.

 

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