Drug Testing At Work: What Are Your Rights As An Employee
Drug testing is mandatory for employment but different laws exist
Drug testing is legal on both federal and state levels, but every state has different laws that dictate how and when employers may screen current and prospective employees. Many employers do drug tests on a job-to-work basis to help ensure a safe workplace, and some companies have to do so to comply with federal and/or state regulations. Drug tests can help deter those employees from abusing drugs, which may help curb health problems and reduce workplace injuries or accidents.
On what grounds is drug testing at work acceptable?
Drug testing at work is typically only acceptable for health and safety grounds. This indicates that unless there is a valid reason, an employer shouldn’t do a drug test; also, other, less invasive methods do not provide a comparable level of proof of impairment.
Drug testing is an important way to ensure workplace safety, including drug screening before hiring, random tests on employees, and reasonable suspicion or post-incident drug screens.
In addition to a pre-employment drug screening, some employers also require applicants to consent to random drug testing once hired, in cases where an employer suspects that the applicant may use substances, on or off duty, where substance use could impact workplace safety and job performance. Some employees know that they can be test at work anytime, so they prepare with various drug avoidance products such as detox drinks, fake urine and detox pills to fool the test. To read my about it, check this outlookindia post.
How is a drug test useful for a business and its employees?
Workplace drug tests are one of the methods employers may use to find out whether job applicants or employees are using drugs, including prescription drugs, illegal drugs, and alcohol. In many states and localities, private employers may screen employees for health and safety reasons, to improve productivity at work, or to prevent illicit activity at work resulting from drug-related activities.
In some states, companies cannot perform blanket drug tests on all employees or random drug tests; the tests must be focused on one person, either because the employer has good reason to believe the individual is using drugs, or because the person’s work involves a higher risk of injury or harm if performed by a person who is under the influence.
The job seeker knows such testing will be part of the new employees review process (for example, because a job application says so, or because the employer’s online job advertisement says that drug testing will be required).
To make sure the candidate is suitable for a job, particularly one with a high-risk work environment, a drug test before hiring will actively guard the business–and the employees–from negative, potentially damaging consequences if the employee uses drugs on the job. In most cases, a worker seeking a first-time position may need to undergo testing as a condition of employment, even when there is no reason or reason to believe that the prospective employee has taken drugs.
Federal contracts/grants can require the implementation of drug-free workplace policies
Some federal contracts and grants can require employers to implement drug-free workplace policies, and can also provide for employee drug tests. The federal government has made it clear that most workplace drug-testing programs are legal under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
But employers must be cautious about implementing drug-testing policies after accidents that are written to discourage workers from reporting accidents.
Former SS 411.091 of the Labor Code (repealed 2005) required that any employer with a worker’s compensation policy and 15 or more employees had to have a drug-free workplace policy and disseminate that policy to all employees, and, according to former rules 169.1 and 169.2, if a business conducted drug tests, a new drug-testing policy must be written, distributed to all employees, and state punishment for positive drug-test results.
What happens if an employee fails an alcohol/drug test?
The final result of whether or not your company’s policy is impacted by the employees failed drug test depends on the policy of your company regarding drugs, the circumstances leading up to testing, and whether or not the confirmation testing is positive as well.
The result may be different when you fail a drug test when applying for a job than when you are already employed. If an employer makes a job offer contingent upon passing a drug test, that offer may typically be revoked if an applicant fails, but employers may have to take additional steps with current employees.
Pre-employment drug tests are required when a former terminated employee is rehired if the termination was for 30 days or longer. If the employee tests positive for drugs or alcohol, they should immediately be removed from the function for which they are covered by the DOT, otherwise, you are directly violating the law.
Keep meetings professional, and if the employee or potential employee denies using drugs or alcohol, you can consider having him or her take a second drug test at the facility.