Charleston Newspapers tells employees to sign form agreeing to random drug/alcohol testing

A Romenesko reader writes:

“Employees at Charleston Newspapers (parent company of the Charleston Gazette and the Charleston Daily Mail) have been told to sign a form agreeing to submit to random drug and alcohol testing.

“The form reads, in part:

drugfreeI understand that all Charleston Newspapers employees may be subject to testing when there is reasonable suspicion to believe that I may be using drugs or alcohol…I also understand that refusal to submit to testing will result in initiation of disciplinary action, up to and including termination. ….

The company in its sole discretion, reserves the right to test all employees at one or more sites of employment to effectuate the purpose of promoting and maintaining a drug and alcohol free environment, employees should anticipate that in most cases the company will do so.”

“At least one reporter was told that if he didn’t sign the form he would probably be fired.”

(Another reader writes me: “For Morris publications I can’t think of a time when contracts didn’t have a clause for random substance testing.”)

I’ve asked Charleston Newspapers president/publisher Elizabeth Chilton about the random-test policy. UPDATE: I received this response to my email: “Mrs. Chilton is away and will not be back in the office until next Tuesday, August 6. She is at the beach on vacation.”

* There are many comments about this from my Facebook friends and subscribers (