Can I Provide Medicine for Employees?
Common HR Questions
Q: Can you tell me if companies are providing aspirin, ibuprofen, etc. for their employees (in first aid kits). If they are, is there any liability on the employer’s part if there were an issue with the employee taking these medications?
A: Yes, many employers do include such non-prescription medications in first aid kits. As a general matter, merely making non-prescription, first aid medications of this nature available for employees who may wish to take the medications should not be a problem. But it must be the employee who makes the decision to take the medication without any influence from the employer or anyone who works for the employer – the employer should not make any suggestion or recommendation of any kind as to whether the medication should be taken or is appropriate for any person in any circumstance. Some employees have allergies, sometimes medications of this nature are not appropriate for patients with clotting disorders … and so on.
It’s the difference between merely having them available, and taking any role in recommending or dispensing them – don’t get anywhere close to the latter.
If appropriate, the employer could put a notice on the box or cabinet or drawer where the medications are kept stating that the company does not recommend that any person use any of the medications but is making them available for employees who independently choose to do so.
MEA’s goal is to provide current, detailed and useful information to HOTLINE callers, but our responses do not constitute legal advice about what you should or should not do in a particular situation. You should always consult legal counsel, in the context of a confidential attorney-client relationship, before taking any action that could have legal implications for you or your business. If legal services are needed, MEA members are entitled to a discounted fee arrangement with the Powell Trachtman law firm, which serves as MEA’s general counsel. For more information, contact Michael G. Trachtman at firstname.lastname@example.org.