This paper presents the policies and practice of a corporation and its operating companies in controlling workplace drug and alcohol abuse. Anonymous drug testing of representative sample groups of employees and new hires found alarming rates of drug abuse. In response, policies were updated to cover preemployment, for cause, and other testing, searches, contractor procedures, rehabilitation, and discipline.

Step-wise implementation, a revised medical benefit package, and the expanded role of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) — keys to maximizing employee acceptance — are detailed. Encouraging improvement in the retention rate for employees who have completed rehabilitation is reported.


During the 1970s and the early 1980s, as illegal drug usage increased in the United States, the management of Chevron Corporation became increasingly interested in knowing the extent of illegal drug usage among its 44,000 U.S. domestic employees. This lead to anonymous urine drug screening of a statistically representative sample of new hires and of employees at three locations. The number of positive tests was alarmingly high, especially so to an industry which requires employees unimpaired by drugs for safe operations.

The anonymous drug screening results proved to management not only the need to update the corporation's drug and alcohol policies but also the necessity to enhance the implementation of these policies.

This paper describes the updated and enhanced drug and alcohol policies, their careful step-wise implementation, the importance of adequate health insurance so employees can afford appropriate treatment and rehabilitation, and the vital role played by the company's Employee Assistance Program (EAP).


In 1984–85, the Corporation conducted anonymous drug testing of about 300 new-hires (applicants who had accepted employment but had not yet reported for work) and about 450 employees in three different locations. In the new-hire testing, drug-positive rates from 24% to 44% were found. Among the representative samples of employees tested anonymously, 10% to 27% tested positive for drugs. All segments of the corporation's employee population were represented in these tests; all age groups, male and female, blue collar and white collar, and union and non-union employees were tested. Since testing was anonymous, positive test results could not be traced to individuals and positive test results could not be traced to individuals and did not affect employment status.

Based upon this data management decided to update the corporation's substance abuse policies to specifically include the following provisions. All U.S. domestic new-hires must pass a urine drug screen. Those who fail the drug screen pass a urine drug screen. Those who fail the drug screen are not hired, but they may re-apply after six months. Where reasonable cause exists, an employee may be required to take a urine drug screen and/or alcohol screen (for-cause testing). Those who fail are subject to discipline and may even lose their jobs. With prior approval, other forms of drug and/or alcohol testing such as random testing or post-accident testing are allowed. A program of unannounced post-accident testing are allowed. A program of unannounced contraband searches of corporation facilities for drugs, alcohol, and other prohibited materials, begun in 1973, was formalized in policy. Its updated policies also require that contract companies have their own comparable substance abuse policies.

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