Policy Number: 11-008

Drug-Free Workplace

Category: Human Resources

Responsible Executive: Vice President for Human Resources

Responsible Office: Human Resources

1. Policy Statement

The purpose of this policy is to set forth the University of Florida’s commitment to providing a drug free workplace. Consistent with this commitment, UF will comply with applicable federal and state laws pertaining to establishing and maintaining a drug free workplace. 

2. Applicability

This policy applies to all UF employees. 

3. Definitions


4. Policy Specifics

It is the policy of the University of Florida to maintain a drug-free workplace. Faculty, staff, volunteers, and students are prohibited from engaging in the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, and/or use of a controlled substance or alcohol at UF work locations and while engaged in university business off campus. This policy represents the University’s on-going efforts to provide a safe and healthy work environment.

Health Risks Associated with the Use of Illicit Drugs and the Abuse of Alcohol
Alcohol consumption causes a number of marked changes in behavior. Even low doses of alcohol significantly impair the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely, increasing the likelihood that the driver will be involved in an accident. The use of small amounts of alcohol by a pregnant woman can damage the fetus. Low to moderate doses of alcohol also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts.

Moderate to high doses of alcohol cause marked impairment in higher mental functions, severely altering a person’s ability to learn and remember information. Heavy use may result in chronic depression and suicide and also may be associated with the abuse of other drugs. Very high doses can cause respiratory depression and death. If combined with other depressants of the central nervous system, much lower doses of alcohol will produce the effects described. Even occasional heavy drinking may be associated with the harmful effects described above. Binge drinking, which occurs over an extended period of time, involves repeated use of alcohol to the point of intoxication. A person may give up usual activities and responsibilities during this time in order to use the alcohol, and serious impairment in all areas of functioning may occur.

Long-term heavy alcohol use can cause digestive disorders, cirrhosis of the liver, circulatory system disorders, and impairment of the central nervous system—all of which may lead to early death. Repeated use of alcohol can lead to dependence, and at least 15 to 20 percent of heavy users eventually will become problem drinkers or alcoholics if they continue drinking. Sudden cessation of alcohol intake is likely to produce withdrawal symptoms, including severe anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and convulsions, which can be life threatening.

The use of illegal drugs and the misuse of prescription and other drugs also pose a serious threat to health. The use of marijuana (cannabis) may cause impairment of short-term memory, comprehension, and ability to perform tasks requiring concentration. Marijuana use also may cause lung damage, paranoia, and possible psychosis. The use of narcotics, depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens may cause nervous system disorders and possible death as the result of an overdose. Illicit inhalants can cause liver damage.

Any person taking prescription drugs or over-the-counter medication is personally responsible for ensuring that while taking such drugs or medications, he or she is not a safety risk to themselves and others while on University property, while driving a University or privately owned vehicle, or while otherwise engaged in University business.  It is illegal to misuse prescription medication, i.e. continue to use medication when the prescription is no longer valid, use prescribed drugs contrary to the prescription, and give or sell prescribed drugs to another person. Individuals that have been prescribed medication must present a fit for duty document from their medical provider indicating that they can safely return to work if continued use of the prescribed medication is required.

Standard of Conduct
The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance or the unlawful possession and use of alcohol are harmful and strictly prohibited in and on property owned and controlled by the university. In addition, the possession, manufacturing, purchase, sale or distribution of controlled substances by an employee or student away from the University’s premises, while off duty, may also result in significant disciplinary action since such conduct may reflect unfavorably on the University.

No employee or student is to report to work, class, or any university activity while under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol, or operate a university vehicle under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol. Additionally, the University also prohibits employees from making arrangements for such acts while conducting University business, on or off University premises. The use of alcoholic beverages by members of the university is at all times subject to the alcoholic beverage laws of the state of Florida, applicable county and city regulations, and UF Regulation 2.019, Alcohol Policy.

The possession and use of controlled drugs by members of the university community must at all times be in accordance with the provisions of Florida law, the regulations of the Board of Education, and the regulations of the university. Under Florida law, no person may possess substances regulated under the provisions of Chapter 893, Florida Statutes (controlled substances and “designer drugs”), unless dispensed and used pursuant to prescription or otherwise authorized by law. Sale and delivery of such substances are prohibited unless authorized by law.

Procedures for Suspicion of Drugs or Alcohol at Work
Anytime an employee suspects another employee may be at work and under the influence of alcohol or drugs (legal or illegal), they should immediately report this suspicion to their supervisor and/or UFHR Employee Relations. This is especially vital if the employee may pose a danger to themselves or others (especially if they are operating heavy or dangerous machinery, may be operating a vehicle, or directly interacting with students or minors). Employees should call 911 in emergent situations. Otherwise, they should immediately seek out a member of management. This is not only a job performance issue, it could also be a safety issue. Reporting concerns is important to keep our work environment—and our colleagues—safe. 


Florida’s Medical Marijuana Law
The term medical marijuana refers to using the whole, unprocessed marijuana plant or its basic extracts to treat symptoms of illness and other conditions. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not recognized or approved the marijuana plant as medicine.

The State of Florida has adopted legislation addressing the use of medical marijuana. However, the law does not limit the ability of an employer to establish, continue, or enforce a drug-free workplace program or policy. Florida’s law does not require an employer to accommodate the medical use of marijuana in any workplace or any employee working while under the influence of marijuana. Further, the law does not create a cause of action against an employer for wrongful discharge or discrimination.

In short, Florida’s law does not change any of UF’s expectations that employees to report to work fit for duty. It also does not dilute UF’s drug-free workplace policy in any way.  This section does not limit the ability of an employer to establish, continue, or enforce a drug-free workplace program or policy.

Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act Compliance
The following are required of the University of Florida and its employees:

  1. An employee shall notify his or her supervisor or other appropriate management representative of any criminal drug statute conviction for a violation occurring in the workplace no later than five days after such conviction.
  2. The university shall notify any federal contracting agency within ten days of having received notice that an employee engaged in the performance of such contract or grant has had a criminal drug statute conviction for a violation in the workplace.
  3. The university will take appropriate action against any employee who is convicted for a violation occurring in the workplace or will require the employee’s satisfactory participation in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program.

5. Review and Adjudication

The following is the department, office, or individual is responsible for overseeing implementation of and assuring compliance with this policy. Any individual with questions about the policy should contact:

UFHR – Employee Relations
903 W. University Avenue
P.O. Box 115000
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-1072
EmployeeRelations@hr.ufl.edu (to expedite a response, please include the phrase “Drug-Free Workplace” in the subject line of any email inquiries or reports)

Questions about student conduct or concerns may be directed to Student Affairs at (352) 392-1265 or the Dean of Students Office at (352) 392-1261.

Detailed information about alcohol consumption, the use of illegal drugs, and the misuse of prescription and other drugs may be obtained by calling GatorWell Health Promotion Services at (352) 273-4450. 

6. Policy Violations

Violation of the policies and laws described in this statement by an employee is grounds for disciplinary action up to and including termination in accordance with applicable university and the Florida Board of Education regulations and/or collective bargaining agreements. Such disciplinary actions also may include reprimand or suspension.

Additionally, a violation may be reason for evaluation and treatment of a drug- and/or alcohol-use disorder or referral for prosecution consistent with local, state, and federal criminal law. Disciplinary action by the university does not preclude the possibility of criminal charges against an employee. The filing of criminal charges similarly does not preclude action by the university.

State law prohibits the possession of alcoholic beverages by persons under age 21. State law also makes it a crime for any person to possess or distribute controlled substances/drugs.

Individuals who have been convicted of a felony involving the sale of or trafficking in, or conspiracy to sell or traffic in, a controlled substance under certain circumstances may be disqualified from applying for state employment. Penalties under federal law for drug trafficking generally are greater than penalties under state law.

Failure to comply with this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination and/or referral to law enforcement for prosecution.

Additional information on reporting suspected HIPAA violations and enforcement can be found on the UF Health Privacy Page .

Additional Resources

Literature on Drug/Alcohol Use. Detailed information about alcohol consumption, the use of illegal drugs, and the misuse of prescription and other drugs is available from GatorWell Health Promotion Services, 655 Reitz Union Drive, Level 1, Suite 1100, (352) 273-4450.

Drug and Alcohol Counseling, Rehabilitation, Reentry Programs: By calling the university’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at (352) 392-5787, employees can receive individual consultation sessions or be referred to community providers or agencies for assistance in dealing with drug and alcohol abuse. The EAP is free and confidential, and all university employees, including Other Personal Services (OPS) employees, are eligible.

Students may seek assistance at GatorWell Health Promotion Services, 655 Reitz Union Drive, Level 1, Suite 1100, (352) 273-4450; and the UF Counseling and Wellness Center, 3190 Radio Road, (352) 392-1575.

Help for all members of the university community is available through Alcoholics Anonymous (Gainesville Chapter) at (352) 372-8091 and Narcotics Anonymous (North-Central Florida Chapter) at (352) 376-8008.

UF Regulation 2.019 Alcoholic Beverages
UF Regulation 1.008 Disruptive Behavior
UF Policy Commercial Motor Vehicle Operator Drug Testing
UF Alcoholic Beverage Policy
UF Dean of Students – Student Handbook (Resources)
FL Statutes Chapter 893, Drug Abuse Prevention and Control
FL Statutes Chapter 381.986, Medical Use of Marijuana
Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 (41 U.S.C. 81)



History: Updated 1-1-2019