Substance abuse is on the rise since the Covid pandemic began in early 2020. Now more than ever employers need to look towards workplace drug testing in order to avoid liabilities, lowered productivity and accidents in the workplace.
SAMHSA Survey 2020 – Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 21.4 percent (or 59.3 million people) used illicit drugs in the past year.
In this article we will cover:
How to set up a drug testing program
If you need to drug test an employee or applicant, you can do this immediately without having to set up an account. You can order a drug test online or call 866-843-4545. Drug testing centers are available in all areas of the United States.
Setting up a comprehensive program with a drug free workplace policy is easy also. Check out our free white paper on creating your Drug Screening Policy. Our expert drug testing professionals can guide you through what is required for a comprehensive drug free workplace program available for employers regulated by DOT or non-regulated. Best practices for the drug free workplace program would be to include:
You can submit all your information here for the employer account for a drug testing program
Our expert professionals can write your drug free workplace policy for you.
When should I drug test employees
At a minimum most companies will do pre-employment testing once an offer of employment is made. You don’t want to hire someone who is a substance abuser. If you hire a liability, you own that liability. Remember that approximately 20% of Americans over 18, are admitting to the use of illicit drugs.
Once you hire employees, you may want to consider ongoing drug testing including random drug testing, post-accident drug testing, reasonable suspicion drug testing, return to duty drug testing and follow-up drug testing. These types of drug tests will help your company to remain drug free.
Random drug testing is required for DOT regulated employers and an option for non-regulated employers. Random drug testing serves as a deterrent to drug use and an early identifier of your employees who might get involved with drugs. Our expert drug testing professionals can help you define a random testing program customized for your company.
Post-accident drug and alcohol testing is important to determine if the accident might have been caused by the use of illicit drugs or alcohol impairment. This can potentially lead to the denial of the workers compensation claim. This can save your company a lot of money.
When an employee appears to be impaired at work, reasonable suspicion drug testing is necessary to remove that person from the workplace for safety reasons. Supervisors should have reasonable suspicion training to be able to determine signs and symptoms of potential impairment at work. Once a reasonable suspicion decision is made, the reasonable suspicion drug and alcohol testing should be immediate.
Return to duty and follow up drug testing are covered in the next section – What happens when an employee tests positive. Both of these testing reasons deal with an employee who has had a positive drug test result and the employer after rehabilitation is allowing the employee to come back to work.
What happens when an employee tests positive
Your employee tests positive on a random test, post-accident test or reasonable suspicion test; what do you do? This is why your written drug free workplace policy is so important so that when this happens you simply follow your policy. Some employers will require immediate termination following a positive drug test. Some employers will allow a second chance, requiring rehabilitation or employee assistance program (EAP). This typically will result in a second chance agreement.
For those employers who offer a second chance policy, a return to duty drug test should be required once the employee completes the rehabilitation and is released back to work. A schedule of follow-up drug testing may then be required to insure the employee stays clean. For DOT regulated companies the return to duty test and follow up testing are required. The DOT regulated employee must see a Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) as part of his or her return to duty process.
What about marijuana testing
With medical and recreational marijuana now legal in the majority of the United States, every employer must make decisions about marijuana and testing for marijuana. Drug testing for marijuana is legal and actually required for employers regulated by the US Department of Transportation (DOT).
There are a few jurisdictions when pre-employment testing for marijuana is prohibited, most notably – New York City and Philadelphia. In a few States the laws allow testing for marijuana but do not allow an employer to take adverse action against an employee solely based on a positive marijuana test. You must get educated on marijuana laws in the States you operate in. Every State has different laws. We highly recommend our web pages on Workplace Considerations for Marijuana Use.