June 4, 2023

Labor and Employment Sec. Silvestre H. Bello III has reminded employers to ensure their workplaces are drug-free to promote their workers’ safety and health in compliance to DOLE’s Department Order 53, s. 2003.
Under DO 53-03, all establishments in the private sector employing 10 or more workers must develop their own drug abuse policies and programs. In the same manner, establishments employing less than 10 employees are encouraged to formulate and adopt the same policies. The order also directs companies to have their employees submit to a random drug testing.
The order specifies the guidelines for the implementation of drug-free workplace policies and programs for the private sector to assist the employers and employees in the formulation of company policies and programs to achieve a drug-free workplace. The department order was issued in compliance with Article V of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act.
Employers are required to conduct random drug testing and may require drug testing as a condition for pre-employment.
Two testing methods are required to be observed, namely, the screening test and the confirmatory test. The screening test determines the positive result, as well as the type of the drug used.
On the other hand, the confirmatory test is a measure employed to affirm a positive screening test. An employee initially found to be negative in the screening tests need not undergo confirmatory test.
The conduct of drug testing, however, should only be performed by accredited centers of the Department of Health, which may be accessed through the DOLE Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) website, www.oshc.dole.gov.ph.
Employees found positive for drug use constitutes serious misconduct and may even be a ground for termination of employment. An employee who refuses to undergo random drug testing may be guilty of insubordination. These instances constitute just causes for dismissal.
To validly dismiss an employee, the employer must observe substantive and procedural due process. Termination must only be made after the employee is accorded due notice and hearing.
To protect the identification of the drug users in the workplace, the employer shall maintain the confidentiality of all information relating to drug tests. Exceptions maybe made only where required by law, in case of overriding public health and safety concerns, or where such exceptions have been authorized in writing by the person concerned.
Any officer or employee who uses, possesses, distributes, sells or attempt to sell, tolerates, or transfers dangerous drugs or otherwise commits other unlawful acts as defined under Article II of RA 9165 shall be subject to the pertinent provisions of the act while any officer or employee found positive for the use of dangerous drugs shall be dealt with administratively in accordance with the provisions of Article 282 of Book VI of the Labor Code of the Philippines and under RA 9165.
Establishments and companies can support the government’s anti-drug campaign by posting in strategic areas in the workplace this notice: “This is a drug-free workplace. Let’s keep it this way.”
For more information on workplace policies and programs on drug abuse prevention and control, visit www.dole.gov.ph and www.oshc.gov.ph. For facts about illegal drugs, it’s effect and anti-drug laws, visit www.pdea.gov.ph and www.ddb.gov.ph.