Drug Free Workplace Program Underutilized by TN Employers
Tennessee employers can receive a 5% premium credit on workers’ compensation insurance when they adopt a drug-free workplace policy, and now employers who are self-insured for workers' compensation coverage can also benefit from enrolling in the Drug-Free Workplace Program of the Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
For all employers enrolled in the program – including those who are self-insured – the burden of proof when an employee tests positive for drugs or alcohol is now shifted to the employee to show “clear and convincing evidence” that drugs did not contribute to the cause of an accident.
An additional benefit is that if an enrolled employer refuses to hire a job applicant who is found in violation of his (the employer’s) drug free workplace policy or the employer disciplines an employee in violation, the action is considered done for cause.
Thousands of Tennessee employers have established drug-free workplace programs since the Department of Labor & Workforce Development certified the first worker in April 1998. Currently, close to 11,000 employers are signed up for the program, but only 5,000 of those are active – an important distinction.
“Employers must renew their applications to the Drug-Free Workplace Program annually to receive the premium credit and additional benefits for each subsequent policy year,” said Lance Wheaton, coordinator for the program. “The renewal process is easy. Employers just go online, complete and print the application, and mail it to us. We do not have a system in place right now to alert employers to renew their applications in the Drug-Free Workplace Program, but we suggest they look into it at the time they renew their workers’ comp insurance.”
To be eligible for the Drug-Free Workplace Program and its accompanying benefits, employers must have Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Once employers establish proof-of-coverage, they can apply for or renew program participation at www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/forms/dfapp.pdf; print and mail the application to
Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development
Division of Workers’ Compensation
Drug-Free Workplace Program
220 French Landing Drive
Nashville, TN 37243-1002
For more information on the Drug-Free Workplace Program visit the department’s Web site at www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/dfwp.html or e-mail program coordinator Lance Wheaton at Lance.Wheaton@tn.gov; (615) 532-1321.