University Policies
Policy Contact
Senior Director of Employee and Labor Relations Email 401-863-3896

Drug-Free Workplace Policy

Policy No. Issue Date Effective Date

1.0 Policy Purpose

Brown University is committed to maintaining a workplace free from the presence of illegal drugs and employees who are not under the influence of controlled substances. The University recognizes health risks for employees and actions that jeopardize the safety of others when substance abuse interferes with the performance of their job duties. 

2.0 To Whom the Policy Applies

This policy applies to all staff and faculty, contractors and visitors.

3.0 Policy Statement

Brown University expects its students and employees to maintain a safe and healthy environment. Brown University prohibits the unlawful manufacture, dispensation, possession, use, or distribution of a controlled substance of any kind in any amount on University property or worksite, or while conducting University business away from the campus. This prohibition includes the manufacture, dispensation, possession, use, or distribution of prescription drugs without a prescription. 

In accordance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, Brown University must certify that it will maintain a drug-free workplace. As a term and condition of employment with Brown, employees are prohibited from the unlawful consumption, manufacture, dispensing or possession of illegal drugs and controlled substances on Brown's premises, in vehicles owned or provided by Brown, or at work sites at which University business is conducted. Brown may  require an employee to participate in a drug abuse assistance or rehabilitation program.

In addition, employees consuming alcohol in vehicles owned or provided by Brown, or at the workplace (unless specifically authorized) is prohibited. Employees who consume alcohol will be expected at all times to safely perform their job duties. The University will not permit criminal activity of any kind on its property or on property under its direct control.  If criminal activity is found, Brown will take appropriate action up to and including terminating an employee. 

4.0 Definition

For the purpose of this policy, the terms below have the following definitions:

Controlled Substance:

A drug or other substance that is regulated by the government because it may be abused or cause addiction. Controlled substances include opioids, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and anabolic steroids. Controlled substances with known medical use, such as morphine, Valium, and Ritalin, are available only by prescription from a licensed medical professional. 

Work Site:

Work site includes any property, building, office space or other property, including parking lots, owned, leased or operated by the University or any other site at which an employee is obligated to perform work for the University. An employee is also considered to be at a "work site" at all times when he/she is in or responsible for a University vehicle while on University business.


Possession is defined as having one or more illegal drugs (e.g., marijuana, cocaine, unprescribed narcotic, etc.) in one's possession, either for personal use, distribution, sale or otherwise. A person has possession of drugs if they have actual physical control of the drugs, if the drugs are on that person, or if they have the power and intent to control their disposition and use.

5.0 Responsibilities

All individuals to whom this policy applies are responsible for becoming familiar with and following this policy. University supervisors are responsible for promoting the understanding of this policy and for taking appropriate steps to help ensure compliance with it. 


Employees are expected not to be under the influence of illegal drugs or a controlled substance when at the workplace or conducting University business outside of the workplace.  

Employees are required to immediately report acts of suspected drug use or possession in the workplace to their supervisor, manager or University Human Resources. Employees should contact the Department of Public Safety if they believe a violation of this policy is occurring outside of University hours of operations or for an imminent threat of danger.

In accordance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act, employees must, as a condition of employment, notify their immediate supervisor or University Human Resources of a conviction for a criminal drug statute violation within five days of the conviction. If an employee is working under a grant or contract funded by a federal agency, within 10 days of learning of a drug conviction, Brown must notify the funding agency that a violation of this policy has occurred. 

Supervisors and managers:

Supervisors and managers are to take observations or suspicions of drug possession or use in the workplace seriously. Contact University Human Resources or the Department of Public Safety regarding appropriate action immediately to address any of these circumstances. 

6.0 Consequences for Violating this Policy

Failure to comply with this and related policies is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension without pay, or termination of employment or association with the University, in accordance with applicable (e.g., staff, faculty, student) disciplinary procedures.  

7.0 Related Information

This policy is not a legal document. This policy does not confer a term of employment, nor is the language intended to establish a contract of employment, express or implied, between any employee and Brown University. The University reserves the right to change, amend or terminate any of its human resources policies at any time for any reason. 

Brown University is a community in which employees are encouraged to share workplace concerns with University leadership. Additionally, Brown’s Anonymous Reporting Hotline allows anonymous and confidential reporting on matters of concern online or by phone (877-318-9184).

The following information complements and supplements this document. The information is intended to help explain this policy and is not an all-inclusive list of policies, procedures, laws and requirements.

7.4 Frequently Asked Questions


7.5 Related Information


Policy Owner and Contact(s)

Policy Owner: Vice President of University Human Resources

Policy Approved by: Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration

Contact Information:

Senior Director of Employee and Labor Relations Email 401-863-3896

Policy History

Policy Issue Date:

Policy Effective Date:

Policy Update/Review Summary:

Policy version superseded by this policy:

  • Drugs in the Workplace (20.042), Revision Date: January 30, 2019