Workplace violence, drug testing added to work handbook



To promote the safety and security of Crothersville town employees, a workplace violence policy has been added to the employee handbook.

A random drug testing policy also is being put in place for employees to be drug tested twice a year. There also will be testing for pre-employment, post-accident and reasonable suspicion.

The council approved both new policies, but the workplace violence policy received a lone nay vote from council President Danieta Foster.

The five members of the council had discussed the workplace violence policy during their Feb. 6 meeting. Then after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, eight days later and all of the talk of gun policies, the council was sent a revised version of the workplace violence policy with a gun policy added.

During a March 6 meeting, the 4-1 vote included adding the gun policy.

The firearms-free workplace portion of the policy states the town prohibits the possession or use of dangerous weapons on town property. That includes firearms, explosives and other weapons that might be considered dangerous or that could cause harm.

All town employees, with the exception of police officers, are subject to this provision. That includes contract workers and temporary employees.

Pursuant to state statute, the policy does not prohibit employees from having lawful firearms and ammunition in their locked vehicles on town premises. The firearms must be legally owned, the owner must meet all applicable licensing requirements and the weapon must not be stored in plain sight in the vehicle.

Town attorney Jeff Lorenzo said Indiana law allows people to bring a gun to their workplace as long as it is kept in their vehicle and not in plain view. It has to remain in the vehicle unless their employer gives them permission to take it on the job, he said.

“I don’t see anything wrong with them having them in vehicles, but carting them out in public, no,” Councilman Bob Lyttle said. “It doesn’t need to be advertised.”

Any employee in violation of the workplace violence policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

According to the policy, town employees should notify a member of the town council of any violence that they have witnessed, been subject to or have otherwise been made aware.

In the policy, violence is defined as unwarranted assaultive or coercive behaviors, including threats, rude or offensive touching, intimidation, harassment, property damage, sabotage or any violation of a protective order. The concept of violence includes behavior which is actual, attempted or threatened.

Even if actual violence has not occurred, employees also should report any behavior they have witnessed that they regard as violent when the behavior is work-related might be carried out on a town-controlled site or is connected to town employment.

The town council will assess and investigate the incident and determine the appropriate action to be taken. In critical incidents in which a serious threat of injury occurs and emergency response is required, police must be notified immediately.

With the drug testing, Councilman Lenvel “Butch” Robinson said for several years, the town’s employment policy has stated employees may be subject to random testing and a positive test would be grounds for immediate dismissal. The testing, however, never has been done.

If the town applies for grant funding, it has to have a drug testing policy in place, so the council decided it was time to implement it.

When Clerk-Treasurer Terry Richey called Midwest Toxicology, the same company Crothersville Community School Corp. uses for drug testing, she learned it was bought out by DISA. She also found out the rate to come on site went from $25 to $150.

The school corporation, however, is still only charged $25, and Superintendent Terry Goodin said he would not charge the town to have its employees take drug tests at the same time as school employees.

The town will have to pay the per employee charge of $62.50 and determine how many people to have urine tested at a time. The draw will be random, but with the town having around 20 employees, there’s a good possibility of duplicate draws, Richey said.

Spare kits will be locked up at the town hall. If someone is drawn to be tested but is not at work, they will have a certain amount of time to pick up a kit and take it to Scott Memorial Hospital in Scottsburg to be tested. DISA will take care of it from there, and the hospital will not charge the town, Richey said.

DISA also offers alcohol testing, but that’s even more expensive, Richey said. DISA suggested only doing that if there is suspicion of a problem, she said.

Before any testing is done, the town has to have a policy in place. Richey said DISA has a model policy that can be adapted to fit the town, and there’s no cost for that, either.

She was going to share that with Lorenzo to review, and then it would be presented to the council for approval.

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