Staff HR Policy D-744.02
Institutional Effectiveness Criterion: Culture

Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use - Reasonable Suspicion Procedure

This procedure is applicable to all NMC operations except as otherwise required by the Aviation, Maritime, or other divisions and their applicable federal requirements.

If there is reasonable suspicion that an employee is working while under the influence of an illegal drug or alcohol, the employee will be suspended with pay until the results of a drug and alcohol test are made available to NMC by the College's contracted testing laboratory. There will be no adverse employment action taken before the test results are received.

Alcohol and drug testing will be conducted whenever there is "reasonable suspicion" of drug or alcohol use. It is possible for a test for alcohol or drug use to be conducted after an accident, but only if it is based upon reasonable suspicion, rather than the fact that an accident occurred.

Reasonable suspicion will normally be based on a supervisor's personal observation of the employee or other relevant factors indicating alcohol or drug use (Use this form for help in determining reasonable suspicion Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use Report Form (.pdf)). Factors that can be used to evaluate reasonable suspicion for drug or alcohol use include, but are not limited to, observing: 1) slurred speech; 2) difficulty concentrating while on the job; 3) appearance of disorientation; 4) staggering or stumbling; and 5) drowsiness and sleeping on the job. Odor of alcohol on the breath can constitute reasonable suspicion of alcohol use. Odor of marijuana use can constitute reasonable suspicion of marijuana use.

If it is determined that there is reasonable suspicion of drug or alcohol use or a positive on-site alcohol screen, the employee will be driven to the facility that NMC contracts with for testing services. A phone call must be made to the facility to alert them that an employee is being brought in for drug and alcohol use testing.

  • 7:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.: Munson Occupational Health & Medicine Clinic, Contact: Clerk/Scheduler (Option 1) - (231) 935-8590
  • 5:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.: Munson North Urgent Care Clinic, Contact: Staff Nurse - (231) 935-8712
  • 10:00 p.m.–7:30 a.m.: Munson Emergency Room, Contact: Staff Nurse - (231) 935-6333

Any employee brought to an NMC-contracted facility will be tested for both alcohol and illegal drug levels. These facilities conduct drug and alcohol testing in accordance with D.O.T. guidelines for collection procedures, and all urine drug screens will be done as a split sample.

The employee will be required to voluntarily submit to testing. If an employee refuses to submit to testing, the employee’s refusal will be treated the same as a positive test result, and shall constitute grounds for termination of employment. The employee will then be driven to (or cab transportation provided to) the employee's home. The remaining time in the shift is unpaid for hourly employees.

If an employee tests positive for illegal drug use or if the results of an alcohol test indicate a level greater than .04, this shall constitute grounds for termination of employment. If the result of an alcohol test is between .02 and .04, the employee will be offered an opportunity to enter into a last chance agreement in lieu of termination. In exchange for NMC not terminating the employee's employment for violating NMC's Alcohol and Illegal Drug Regulations, the employee will agree at a minimum:

  1. To abide by NMC's Alcohol and Illegal Drug Regulations
  2. To permit NMC to randomly conduct drug/alcohol screening, and
  3. That any subsequent violation of NMC's Alcohol and Illegal Drug Regulations will result in the employee's termination.

Upon request, NMC will provide the employee with resources concerning drug and/or alcohol treatment, including NMC's EAP.


If the employee submits to a drug or alcohol test, NMC will notify him or her of the results within 48 hours after NMC receives the results from Munson's Medical Review Officer or Munson Occupational Health staff. To preserve the confidentiality NMC strives to maintain, Human Resources will notify the employee whether the test was negative or confirmed positive and, if confirmed positive, what the next steps will be. The referral and test results will be kept in the employee's medical personnel file.


If the employee receives notice that the test results were confirmed positive, he or she will be given the opportunity to explain the positive results during the work day following receipt of the test results. An employee who questions the results of a confirmed positive drug test may request an additional test be conducted using the split sample provided at the time of the original sample. The request must be made within 72 hours of initial test results. The employee will pay all costs for a retest on the split sample unless the second test invalidates the original test.


NMC will make every effort to keep the results of drug and alcohol tests confidential. Only persons with a "need to know" will have access to the results. The employee will be asked for consent before test results are released to anyone else. Test results may be used in arbitration, administrative hearings, and court cases arising as a result of the employee drug testing. Also, results may be sent to federal agencies if required by federal law. If referred to a treatment facility for evaluation, the employee's test results will also be made available to his or her counselor.


If NMC requires or requests the employee submit to any drug and alcohol testing, the College will pay the initial cost. Any additional tests that the employee requests will be paid for by the employee, including testing required as part of a rehabilitation or follow-up program, and as previously stated, costs for a retest on the split sample unless the second test invalidates the original test.


Employees should report any concerns about reasonable suspicion directly to their immediate supervisor. Since reporting issues of substance abuse is a time sensitive issue, supervisors must report substance abuse directly and immediately to the Executive Director of Human Resources (or another Human Resources staff member if the Executive Director is not available.)

Supervisors, use the Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use Report Form (.pdf) to identify and report concerns of reasonable suspicion. Complete, print and sign the form, then immediately email the form directly to the Executive Director of Human Resources.

If any provision(s) of this policy or set of bylaws conflicts with laws applicable to Northwestern Michigan College, including the Community College Act of 1966, the Freedom of Information Act, or the Open Meetings Act, as each may be amended from time to time, such laws shall control and supersede such provision(s).

Authorized on 7/23/04
Revised January 16, 2015
Revised March 16, 2018