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mandatory drug test

The Benefits of Regular Employee Drug Testing

Illicit drug use in the United States is on the rise. So, why is drug use such a serious concern for employers?

For one, drug use jeopardizes employee safety while creating a more dangerous environment for employees and customers alike. As a consequence of employees potentially coming into work under the influence of an illicit substance, productivity may also suffer.

Meanwhile employees who are not performing at their best create a poor public image for your entire corporate identity.

Drug Testing Increases Workplace Safety 

Certain jobs are inherently dangerous and require extra vigilance from employers. Truck drivers, construction workers and other employees operating heavy machinery on a daily basis need to put every ounce of their concentration into their work.

When they don’t – or can’t because of on-the-job drug use – workplace safety is imperiled, workplace safety significantly decreases and you might even risk a lawsuit. Just imagine the hassle that could be avoided by regular drug testing.

Employees know that they’re supposed to show up to work sober, but sometimes an early morning shift after a night of partying causes employees to downplay the dangers. Imagine a fork-life operator or deli worker, as examples, using fork lifts and sharp utensils while not completely functional. The prospect itself is a little frightening.

Although drug testing clearly increases workplace safety, there are some laws that dictate whom you are allowed to drug test…and when.

Is Drug Testing Legal? 

In most instances, yes. Each state has a different set of rules, and in general states are more lenient towards allowing private employers the right to drug test applicants on a widespread basis.

Employers must follow state protocol on delegating drug testing out to a drug testing laboratory in order to get accurate samples and preclude the possibility of discrimination. Generally speaking, the job applicant must be cognizant of the fact that drug testing is a prerequisite to gaining employment.

In most states, a private employer may also require a drug test after giving an applicant the job. In other words, the job will go to that employee contingent on a passing of a drug test conducted at a drug testing laboratory.

To prevent discrimination, the employer must also treat all applicants in the same fashion and follow state standards for conducting the drug test, or delegating out the drug testing to a certified drug testing laboratory. Drug testing laboratories are typically certified at the state level.

  • Screening Current Employee Workforce

Here the rules are somewhat more case-sensitive. An employer usually isn’t allowed to give blanket drug tests to every employee at one time, and the employer also isn’t typically allowed to administer random drug tests. Again, though, each state has a different protocol.

So, when is an employer allowed to test a current employee? That’s a great question. An employer may test a current employee when that employer suspects that one of his or her employees is under the influence of an illicit substance. Warning signs such as repeated lateness, direct signs of drug use or sleeping on the job might be grounds for a drug test on an individual employee.

Another instance in which it’s OK for an employer to administer a drug test to a current employee is when there’s been a workplace accident, and compensation or liability might be at stake.

Lastly, jobs that are inherently dangerous and involve the regular use of heavy machinery (fork-life operator) may give employers permission to drug test current employees to ensure workplace safety. Guaranteeing that you have a competent, alert and safe workforce is one of the key incentives for drug testing.

 

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Employees and Drug Tests

It is important to note that there isn’t a federal law that forbids an employer to request a drug test. If an employer suspects that he/she has an employee who is abusing drugs or alcohol, the employer can demand that the suspected employee take a drug test. Commonly, drug tests check for drugs including heroin, marijuana and cocaine. Some drug tests may check for prescription medication as well as alcohol.

If you suspect that an employee is abusing drugs, you have to right to request a mandatory drug test of that employee. It is recommended that companies outsource their drug testing to a third-party for a variety of reasons including false accusations.

When employees have to take a drug test in-house this can embarrass them. Typically, your employees will wait in a waiting area with their urine sample, talking to co-workers. One-by-one employees will be called into the testing room, and then the drug test will be administered. Conducting employee drug testing this way does not provide confidentially to your employees.

When you use a third-party to administer your drug testing needs, your employees will not personally know anyone in the waiting room preventing them from becoming embarrassed. Of course, there will be others in the waiting room, but the chances of an employee using urine that is not his/hers to tamper the test results simply will not happen due to the fact that a medical professional will be in the testing room with the employee while the sample is deposited into the collection cup.

In addition, in-house drug testing is extremely expensive. Today many businesses as well as corporations cannot afford the extra expense of in-house drug testing. Hiring a third-party to handle all of your drug-testing needs saves your business money.

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A Few Reasons Why You Should Consider Outsourcing Your Mandatory Drug Tests

 

It is not necessary for companies (large or small) to conduct their own employee drug testing in-house. You do not need to be the person responsible for administrating the test, the only thing that you honestly need is the results of the drug test. Outsourcing your mandatory drug tests will greatly reduce your workload as well as company costs if you are willing to allow a third-party to handle the task.

In today’s economy many employers are looking for a way to perform their mandatory drug tests inexpensively; however, most of them want this done immediately and without hassle. Very rarely do small or medium-sized businesses have an in-house laboratory as well as a drug testing coordinator on their payroll.

Larger businesses may have an in-house drug testing laboratory; however, most of them will quickly discover that they would benefit from using a third-party to administer their drug tests plus many of these larger companies will also benefit from saving company time as well as funds.

When an employee is demanded to take a mandatory drug test, he/she could be hiding urine down his/her pants from a family member or friend in order to receive a negative result when in fact, this person would test positive for drugs – legal or illegal.

Most employers feel uncomfortable standing in the bathroom while an employee deposits a urine sample into a collection cup. If the employee and employer are different sexes, then obviously there would be legal consequences of such an action.

Hiring a third-party drug testing company would prevent an employee from depositing urine that is not his/hers plus it would prevent a possible law suit due to an employer being present while urine is being deposited in the drug test sample cup.

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