Human Resources

Drugs and Alcohol Policy

Amherst College recognizes substance abuse as a widespread problem that not only can seriously affect an individual's work performance but may also pose potential health, safety and security risks. Our policy, as stated below, is designed to provide a drug-free, healthy, safe and secure work environment.

The intent of this policy is to establish and maintain effective methods for providing assistance to all personnel who have impairments of varying natures due to drug and alcohol abuse and dependence and to provide a healthy, safe and productive working environment at the College.

The possession, transfer, sale or use of alcohol or substances of abuse, legal or illegal, while on College premises or during work hours or while on College business, is prohibited except as specifically permitted by this policy. The condition of being under the influence of such substances is also prohibited.

For purposes of this policy, substances of abuse include over-the-counter medications, prescribed medication not used as indicated or prescribed, illegal drugs, chemical substances not used for their intended purpose and any alcoholic beverages.

The following are exceptions:

  • The use of prescription drugs or other medications in the manner, quantity or combination prescribed is not prohibited by this policy.
  • Alcoholic beverages may be served at College functions, but the provisions of this policy otherwise apply to such functions.
  • When prescribed or over-the-counter drugs may affect behavior and/or performance, employees should advise their supervisors that they are taking such drugs for medical reasons, and reasonable accommodations will be made which are in the best interest of the employee and the College.

Anyone who observes any sale or use of drugs or alcohol on College premises or during work hours or while on College business is to report such an instance immediately to their supervisor or another manager.

In the event an employee appears to be unfit for work, the supervisor will attempt to verify his or her observation(s) with another manager; however, a supervisor may remove an employee from the workplace if health, safety or similar considerations warrant such action.

The College recognizes that alcohol and/or substance abuse may occur as a result of a physical or psychological dependency on alcohol or chemical substances. In such cases, the purpose of a disciplinary action may be to correct a possible problem and to motivate the employee to seek or accept help as appropriate, and referral to a rehabilitation or employee assistance program may be required of the employee. An employee's failure or refusal to participate in a rehabilitation or employee assistance program following referral to such a program by the College will subject the employee to termination of employment.

Where there is a reasonable belief that a violation of this policy has occurred, the College reserves the right to conduct searches of desks, lockers and other employee areas. Failure or refusal to permit a requested search may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Law enforcement officials may be notified when appropriate.

Any person who violates the Drug and Alcohol Policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Any person who violates any criminal laws in connection with the distribution or use of illegal drugs shall be subject to discipline or other action by Amherst College.

Also see the Drug Free Schools and Community Act Policy in the Appendix.