Alcohol and Drug Use in the Workplace Policy

Alcohol and Drug Use in the Workplace Policy


Office of Human Resources


Assistant Vice President for Human Resources


Human Resources



Effective Date:


Implementation History:

first draft 5/2001, revised 5/2022


Drugs, Alcohol, Workplace, Marijuana, DFSCA, Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989

Background Information:

Before 2021, SUNY Empire had an Alcohol and Drug Use in the Workplace Policy and a statement regarding drug and alcohol for students. This policy incorporates requirements for both regulations and makes the statements official policy.


The Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Regulations (DFSCR) requires that all colleges and universities that receive Title IV (and certain other education) funds distribute a written notice with required alcohol and other drugs (AOD) related information to all employees. New York State Policy on Alcohol and Controlled Substances in the Workplace calls to our attention that as a public employer, we must be vigilant to protect the safety and welfare of the public with whom we interact and the employees with whom we work.


Employee: For purposes of this policy, employees are considered someone who is on the payroll as an employee of SUNY Empire State University.

University activity: any activity that occurs on university owned or leased property, including vehicles; performed while an employee is on duty; or is sponsored by the university, or by a student sponsored organization. This includes professional meetings attended by employees that the campus authorizes and/or use any campus resources.


Standards of Conduct

Empire State University policy prohibits the unlawful possession, use or distribution of illicit drugs and the abuse of alcohol by employees on university property or as part of the university’s activities.

Compliance with the provisions of this policy is a condition of employment with the Empire State University

Legal Sanctions

Articles 220 and 221 of the New York State Penal Law set criminal penalties for possession or sale of drugs considered harmful or subject to abuse. The seriousness of the offense and penalty imposed upon conviction depend on the individual drug and amount held or sold.  Penalties range from fines to prison terms of 15 years to life, depending upon the nature of the substance, the criminal act and the character of the crime. A summary of NY State drug possession and sale crimes and penalties can be found on a websearch (

New York State prohibits on-the-job use of, or impairment from, alcohol and controlled substances. The State of New York Policy on Alcohol and Controlled Substances in the Workplace provides that upon “reasonable suspicion” a supervisor may require an employee to undergo a medical examination, which could include a drug and alcohol test.

Federal Trafficking Law convictions also carry a variety of penalties which range from five to 30 years in prison and substantial fines. A summary of possible federal laws and sanctions can be found in Appendix A and Appendix B.  

Health Risks

There are significant psychological and physiological health risks associated with the use of illicit drugs and alcohol. Physical addiction, loss of control and withdrawal syndrome as well as serious damage to vital organs of the body can result from drug and alcohol abuse. A description of specific health risks is found in Appendix B.

Alcohol and substance abuse are serious problems and diminish the quality of services the university delivers. Additionally, the personal toll to individuals, families and communities is staggering.

Drug and Alcohol Program

Employees may be referred to the New York State Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAP is a joint labor-management committee program open to all State employees and their families. The program is a confidential information, assessment and referral program that provides employee requested services including assessment for referral to the most appropriate community resource provider for services related to emotional or physical illnesses, alcohol and other drug-related problems.

Any state employee may contact the New York State Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-822-0244. Employees may seek additional information on the Office of Human Resources website (

Disciplinary Sanctions – Employees

State of New York employees who unlawfully manufacture, distribute, sell, dispense, possess, purchase or use a controlled substance while at the workplace or while performing a university activity, will be subject to disciplinary procedures consistent with applicable criminal or civil laws, rules, regulations and collective bargaining agreements including termination of employment or referral for prosecution. Other corrective action may include satisfactory participation in an approved drug or alcohol rehabilitation program.

 Any employee convicted of a violation of a criminal drug statute for a violation occurring in the workplace or at a work site must notify in writing the Office of Human Resources no later than five (5) calendar days following the conviction. The university will notify appropriate federal agencies of such a conviction within ten (10) days of receiving notice of the conviction.

An employee may be directed to undergo medical examination and/or testing under Section 72 of the NYS Civil Service Law at the expense of SUNY Empire, if the supervisor suspects that the employee is not able to perform their duties as a result of alcohol or controlled substance related disabilities.

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Drug Free Schools and Communities Act of 1989 (aka Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act, Department of Education 34 CFR Part 84)

Federal Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988

New York State Policy on Alcohol and Controlled Substances in the Workplace


Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices

Appendix A Summary of Federal Drug Laws (PDF 134kB)

Appendix B Summary of Federal Marijuana Law (PDF 130kB)

Appendix C Health Risks Information (PDF 150kB)