Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988

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The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (41 U.S.C. 81) is an act of the United States which requires some Federal contractors and all Federal grantees to agree that they will provide drug-free workplaces as a precondition of receiving a contract or grant from a Federal agency.[1]

Although all covered contractors and grantees must maintain a drug-free workplace, the specific components necessary to meet the requirements of the Act vary based on whether the contractor or grantee is an individual or an organization. The requirements for organizations are more extensive, because organizations have to take comprehensive, programmatic steps to achieve a workplace free of drugs.[1]


The Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988 didn't come into effect until the late 1980s, when more employers began attempting to eliminate drugs in the workplace.[2] Before the Drug Free Workplace Act, there really was not a federal regulation that employers could use to enforce regulations on employees using drugs. Even though drug testing really didn't come into effect until late 70's early 80's it can still be traced back to about the early 20th century.[3]

President Ronald Reagan was the one who passed the drug Free Workplace Act and made it a law. President Regan passed the law due to the amount of drug abuse occurring in the military. Drug abuse had become such a huge problem that, "He issued Executive Order 12564 banning all federal employees (on and off duty) from using drugs."[4] Soon after this law went into effect, smaller corporations adopted the same rules. The law went into effect November 19, 1988.[4]


The policy put out by the Department of Labor states it is illegal for employees "to manufacture, distribute, dispense or have in possession prohibited controlled substances" [5] The enforcement of the law is not limited to one department or jurisdiction. It can included as part of the employment contract. As for enforcement of the law there really is not any one or any department to enforce it.[6] Marijuana is still considered a controlled substance due to it being illegal under federal law.


Violation of the Drug Free Workplace Act vary among companies. It can differ from being laid off to being asked to complete a rehab program.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 Requirements". U.S. Department of Labor. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  2. ^ Younger, Beverly. "The Drug - Free Workplace Act of 1988". Taylor and Francis Online. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  3. ^ "Drug Free Workplace act of 1988: Requirements". Confirm Biosciences. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Implementation of OMB Guidance on Drug-Free Workplace Requirements". Federal Register. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Scott, Sherrie. "Drug Free Workplace Regulations". Chron. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  6. ^ "Drug Testing in the Workplace: Can You Do it?". Accurate Information Systems. Retrieved July 31, 2018.