Policy revised on April 8, 1999


This policy reflects San Mateo County's position on alcohol and drug problems. It is intended to negate informal practices that may exist in connection with alcohol and drug problems, especially those that lead to the cover-up and protection of the abuser. It puts a responsibility on all levels of management to be alert to unsatisfactory or still acceptable but deteriorating job performance, and to follow the Program whenever this occurs.


San Mateo County recognizes alcohol and drug problems as treatable.

For the purpose of this Policy, alcohol and drug problems exist when an employee's consumption of alcohol or drugs begins to interfere with job performance or attendance.

The social stigma often associated with alcohol and drug problems is inappropriate and is an impediment to effective treatment. San Mateo County expects that this Policy will encourage self-referral of employees who suspect that they may have an alcohol or drug problem.

This Policy is intended to assure that no employee with an alcohol or drug problem will have his or her job security or promotional opportunities jeopardized by a request for help. Employees are encouraged to seek help and assistance, through their department, through their personal physician, or through the Employee Assistance Program, and no employee shall be discriminated against, retaliated against, disciplined, or suffer any other employment-related repercussions because the employee seeks help or referral to deal with an alcohol or drug-related problem.

The individual's rights to confidentiality and privacy are recognized. The pertinent information and records of employees with an alcohol or drug problem will be preserved in the same manner as all other confidential records.

Supervisors should not attempt to diagnose an alcohol or drug problem. Supervisor-initiated referral for diagnosis and treatment should be based strictly on unsatisfactory or deteriorating job performance or attendance problems resulting from apparent behavioral problems, whatever their nature.

Employees with alcohol or drug problems will receive the same careful consideration and opportunities for treatment that are presently extended to employees with any other problems.

It will be the responsibility of the employee to comply with the referral for diagnosis and to cooperate with the prescribed treatment. An employee's refusal to accept diagnosis or treatment, or failure to respond to treatment will be handled in the same manner as other problems when job performance or attendance continues to be adversely affected.

Implementation of this Policy will not require or result in any special regulations, privileges, or exemptions from the standard administrative practices applicable to job performance requirements.

It is the policy of the County to maintain a drug free workplace. The illegal manufacture, distribution, possession, or use of drugs, or acting under the influence of drugs, in this workplace is strictly prohibited. Penalties may be imposed upon employees for drug violations, up to and including termination of employment. Employees must comply with the Drug Free Workplace Policy and notify the County within 5 days of any criminal drug statute conviction for any violation occurring in the workplace.