1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Kirby, Farris
Senate Bill 2811
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO CREATE THE DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE WORKERS' COMPENSATION PREMIUM REDUCTION ACT; TO DECLARE LEGISLATIVE INTENT; TO DEFINE CERTAIN TERMS; TO PROVIDE AN EMPLOYER A PREMIUM DISCOUNT IF THE EMPLOYER IMPLEMENTS A DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE PROGRAM SUBSTANTIALLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT AND IF THE EMPLOYER'S POLICY OFFERS SUCH DISCOUNT; TO PRESCRIBE THE ELEMENTS OF A DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE PROGRAM; TO REQUIRE CONFIDENTIALITY FOR ALL INFORMATION, INTERVIEW, REPORTS, STATEMENTS, MEMORANDA AND TEST RESULTS RECEIVED BY THE EMPLOYER THROUGH A SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The provisions of this act shall be known and may be cited as the "Drug-Free Workplace Workers' Compensation Premium Reduction Act."
SECTION 2. It is the intent of the Legislature to promote drug-free workplaces in order that employers in this state be afforded the opportunity to maximize their levels of productivity, enhance their competitive positions in the marketplace, and reach their desired levels of success without experiencing the costs, delays and tragedies associated with work-related accidents resulting from substance abuse by employees.
SECTION 3. The following words and terms in this act shall have meanings as follows:
(a) "Employee" means any person who works for salary, wages or other remuneration for an employer.
(b) "Employer" means a person or entity that is subject to the Mississippi Workers' Compensation Law as found in Section 71-3-1 et seq., Mississippi Code of 1972.
SECTION 4. (1) If an employer implements a drug-free workplace program substantially in accordance with this act, the employer shall qualify for certification for a five percent (5%) premium discount if offered under the employer's workers' compensation insurance policy.
(2) For each policy of workers' compensation insurance issued or renewed in the state on or after July 1, 1997, a five percent (5%) reduction in the premium for such policy may be granted by the insurer if the insured certifies to the insurer that it has established and maintains a drug-free workplace program that complies with the requirements of this act.
(3) The premium discount provided by this section shall be applied to an insured's workers' compensation insurance pro rata as of the date of receipt of certification by the insurer.
(4) The Workers' Compensation Commission shall promulgate appropriate forms and procedures to allow self-certification by an insured to its insurer. Certification by an insured shall be required for each year in which a premium discount is granted.
(5) The insured's workers' compensation insurance policy shall be subject to an additional premium for the purposes of reimbursement of a previously granted premium discount if it is determined that such insured misrepresented the compliance of its drug-free workplace program within the provisions of this act.
(6) The Workers' Compensation Commission shall be authorized to promulgate rules and regulations necessary for the implementation and enforcement of this section.
SECTION 5. A drug-free workplace program must contain the following elements:
(a) Written policy statement as provided in Section 6 of this act;
(b) Comply with the substance abuse testing procedures as provided in Sections 71-7-1 through 71-7-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, if testing is initiated by the employer;
(c) Resources of employee assistance providers or other rehabilitation resources, maintained in accordance with Section 7 of this act;
(d) Employee education as provided in Section 8 of this act; and
(e) Supervisor training in accordance with Section 9 of this act.
SECTION 6. A drug-free workplace must provide a written policy statement on substance abuse in order to qualify for the provisions of Section 4 of this act. All employees must be given a written policy statement from the employer that contains:
(a) A general statement of the employer's policy on substance abuse notifying employees that the unlawful manufacture, sale, distribution, solicitation, possession with intent to sell or distribute, or use of alcohol or other drugs is prohibited in the person's workplace;
(b) A statement advising an employee or job applicant of the existence of this act;
(c) A general statement concerning confidentiality;
(d) A statement advising an employee of the employee assistance program, external employee assistance program, or the employer's resource file of employee assistance programs and other persons, entities or organizations designed to assist employees with personal or behavioral problems;
(e) A statement informing an employee of the provisions of the federal Drug-Free Workplace Act if applicable to the employer.
SECTION 7. In order for an employer's workplace to qualify as a private sector drug-free workplace and to qualify for the provisions of Section 4 of this act, the following must be met:
(a) If an employer has an employee assistance program, the employer must inform the employee of the benefits and services of the employee assistance program. An employer shall post notice of the employee assistance program in conspicuous places and explore alternatives to publicize such services. In addition, the employer must provide the employee with notice of the policies and procedures regarding access to and utilization of the program.
(b) If an employer does not have an employee assistance program, the employer must maintain a resource file of employee assistance service providers, alcohol and other drug abuse programs, mental health providers, and other persons, entities or organizations available to assist employees with personal or behavioral problems. The employer shall provide all employees information about the existence of the resource file and a summary of the information contained within the resource file. The summary should contain, but need not be limited to, all information necessary to access the services listed in the resource file. In addition, the employer shall post in conspicuous places a listing of multiple employee assistance providers in the area.
SECTION 8. An employer must provide all employees with an education program on alcohol and other drug abuse prior to instituting a private sector drug-free workplace program under this act. Also, an employer must provide all employees with an annual education program on alcohol and other drug abuse, in general, and its effects on the workplace, specifically. An education program for a minimum of one (1) hour should include, but is not limited to, the following information:
(a) The explanation of the disease of addiction for alcohol and other drugs;
(b) The effects and dangers of the commonly abused substances in the workplace; and
(c) The company's policies and procedures regarding alcohol and other drug use or abuse in the workplace and how employees who wish to obtain substance abuse treatment can do so.
SECTION 9. In order to qualify as a private sector drug-free workplace and to qualify for the provisions of Section 4 of this act, and in addition to the educational program provided in Section 8 of this act, an employer must provide all supervisory personnel a minimum of two (2) hours of training prior to the institution of a drug-free workplace program under this act, and each year thereafter which should include, but is not limited to, the following:
(a) Recognition of evidence of employee alcohol and other drug abuse;
(b) Documentation and corroboration of employee alcohol and other drug abuse;
(c) Referral of alcohol and other drug abusing employees to the proper treatment providers;
(d) Recognition of the benefits of referring alcohol and other drug abusing employees to treatment programs, in terms of employee health and safety and company savings; and
(e) Explanation of any employee health insurance of HMO coverage for alcohol and other drug problems.
SECTION 10. (1) All information, interview, reports, statements, memoranda and test results, written or otherwise, received by the employer through a substance abuse program are confidential communications as they pertain to the employee only and may not be used or received in evidence, obtained in discovery or disclosed in any public or private proceedings, except as provided in Sections 71-7-1 through 71-7-33, Mississippi Code of 1972.
(2) Release of any such information under any other circumstance shall be solely pursuant to a written consent form signed voluntarily by the person tested, unless such release is compelled by an agency of the state or a court of competent jurisdiction or unless deemed appropriate by a professional or occupational licensing board in a related disciplinary proceeding. The consent form must contain at a minimum:
(a) The name of the person who is authorized to obtain the information;
(b) The purpose of the disclosure;
(c) The precise information to be disclosed;
(d) The duration of the consent; and
(e) The signature of the person authorizing release of the information.
(3) Nothing in this act shall be construed to call for actions that may violate federal or state confidentiality statutes for employee assistance professionals and alcohol and other drug abuse counseling or treatment providers.
SECTION 11. No cause of action shall arise in favor of any person against an employer based upon the failure of an employer to establish a substance abuse program in accordance with this act.
SECTION 12. Nothing in this act shall be construed to operate retroactively, and nothing in this act shall abrogate the right of an employer under state law to conduct substance abuse tests, or implement employee substance abuse testing programs. Only those programs that meet the criteria outlined in this act qualify for reduced workers' compensation insurance rates under Section 4 of this act.
SECTION 13. If any provision of this act or application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this act are severable.
SECTION 14. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.