Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

Nov 13, 2014

Can we provide nonprescription drugs in the workplace?

Q&ADrug and Alcohol 

Q: We have always provided aspirin and ibuprofen to our employees in first aid kits and the break room. Can I provide these nonprescription medications to my employees?

A: Yes, but it’s not recommended. Some employers believe that providing nonprescription medication to employees could potentially save on a large worker’s compensation claim because employees can self-help for medical issues rather than visiting a doctor. While that may occasionally be true, there is very little regulation regarding nonprescription medication in the workplace, so the risks aren’t necessarily realized. For this reason, Vigilant recommends against the practice. Providing the medication to your employees exposes your company to potential liability if there is an accident associated with the use, misuse or abuse of the drugs. From a practical standpoint, an employer who provides nonprescription medication can’t control the proper use or that it’s even being used at work. For employers who choose to offer nonprescription medication to employees, there are a few steps you can take to limit the risks and ensure proper use. Check out Vigilant’s Legal Guide, “Nonprescription Medication in the Workplace” for more practical considerations.

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