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5.2.21 Substance Abuse

​The archdiocese recognizes a responsibility to help provide a safe and productive work environment for all staff. The archdiocese has a particular concern about substance abuse since it can jeopardize the health and safety of staff, students, parishioners, and the public; impair the reputation of the archdiocese and staff; and affect an individual’s productivity and efficiency. Any violation of this policy will be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination. Where applicable, the archdiocese will also report misconduct to law enforcement authorities.

5.2.21.1 Alcohol

The possession, consumption, purchase, or sale of alcohol on archdiocesan premises is prohibited, except for special situations (e.g., special celebrations or social occasions) in which case the presence of alcohol must be approved in advance by the person in charge. On these occasions, moderate and limited use of alcohol by persons over age 21 is acceptable; however, staff members are expected to remain responsible and professional at all times. Responsible consumption of alcohol by adults over age 21 in the rectory or other residential facilities at a parish is allowed. However, no staff member may be physically or mentally impaired by the influence of alcohol while on archdiocesan premises or while performing archdiocesan services on or off premises.

The use, service, sale, or consumption of alcohol at social events at archdiocesan locations or at fiestas or carnivals at parishes or schools is subject to strict local and state licensing and other regulations. Any disregard or violation of those requirements can have both civil and criminal implications for the persons involved and is cause for immediate termination.

5.2.21.2 Legal Drugs

Legal drugs are those prescribed or purchased over the counter, which are legally obtained and used for the purpose for which they were prescribed and sold. Caution should be exercised because even such legal drugs may affect the user’s safety and that of coworkers or others. If a staff member’s job involves sensitive or significant matters, the use of heavy or dangerous machinery, or driving, the person taking the medication must inform the person in charge that the individual is taking medication that can impair his or her judgment or physical coordination. The person in charge should make appropriate adjustments to the person’s work to assure the safety of all.

Cannabis, although legally obtained in the State of California, remains a controlled substance that can impair judgment or physical coordination; accordingly, staff members who use cannabis for medicinal purposes must inform the person in charge and its medicinal use is subject to the no smoking policy​. Recreational use of cannabis is not allowed at any time while engaged in archdiocesan activities on- or off-site.

5.2.21.3 Illegal Drugs and Controlled Substances

The use, purchase, manufacture, sale, transfer, possession, promotion, or the condition of being under the influence of an illegal drug by anyone engaged in archdiocesan activities is prohibited and in the case of staff, is cause for immediate termination. “Illegal drugs” are drugs or controlled substances that are not legally obtainable, or they are legally obtainable, but not obtained or used in a lawful manner.


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