Employee drug testing – do you know what’s required for your business?

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Cleaning services, pest control companies, auto parts suppliers - Companies with fleets of vehicles, and employees who often work inside clients’ homes and businesses are at risk. Certainly an auto accident involving an impaired employee will cost the employer big, but there’s also the pilferage concern. Drug habits are expensive. Do you really want a phone call about a missing laptop or necklace? For companies like this, pre-employment drug test, criminal background check and random drug testing are recommended.
 
Professional offices: attorneys, doctors, bankers, nurses, accountants – Many feel these are exempt, but nope, they are not.  In fact, higher income and the confidence that goes with it often result in abuse of alcohol and misuse of prescription drugs and cocaine. Is usage less than other professions? Probably, but a doctor who drinks on the job or a nurse who gets into the narcotics cabinet can do a lot of harm. Likewise a banker or accountant can cause serious damage to a business with a few errant spreadsheet entries or inappropriate use or disclosure of confidential client information. Certainly a criminal background check should be part of the onboarding process, but maybe you run one every year. And definitely include drug testing.
 
Marijuana is mainstream, or trying to be. Indeed, many have accepted it, assuming it’s no longer the danger that it once posed. Oddly, it’s just the opposite. Marijuana use is becoming more pervasive. It’s stronger (10x stronger) and its effects last longer (long after the high has gone) than ever before.  Employers who want a safe, healthy, secure workplace must be more diligent than ever.
 
Before you start testing for drug use, draft a written policy that complies with state and federal law. A good policy sets the rules, establishes consequences for failure to follow the rules, and provides the employer with some discretion.
 
Know, too, that not all testing providers are the same.  Look for one that meets your business needs.
  • If you do random testing, you might consider a provider that does them on site.
  • If you hire people who don’t live near your business, find one who has testing centers all over the country.
  • If you need results fast, make sure your provider can meet your expectations, either with software or even instant testing.
  • If you need background checks, see if they can give you that too.
Some employers like to use their workers comp management provider for drug testing. Others see advantages to a streamlined process and shorter wait times or on-site testing by using a dedicated drug tester.
 
Companies drug test for different reasons. For many it’s all about safety. For others it’s about productivity. Still others see it as one of a number of efforts to help employees stay healthy.  No matter what the reason, protect your company today by implementing a drug testing program that is right for you by utilizing the tips provided above.
 
About the author 

Tim Thoelecke is a certified Breath Alcohol Technician Trainer and a DATIA Certified Professional Collector Trainer, trained in drug and alcohol testing for DOT and non-DOT businesses.  He founded InOut Labs, www.InOutLabs.com, a Chicago-based business, to help with the challenges businesses face particularly related to safety and productivity.
 
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  • Mike Morawiec on 2015-12-09 11:21:15 AM

    This does not relate to the Canadian workplace and is not helpful unless you have a US division.

  • Larry Dawson on 2015-12-09 1:48:35 PM

    Informative, but this is an American based advice column. In Canada, especially in unionized workplaces, random drug testing has been ruled to be too invasive. Tests can be demanded after an accident or a near-miss, but other than occupations where no degree of impairment is tolerated - such as truck drivers, school bus operators - the random approach is not allowed.

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