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Rights and Responsibilities of Employers Regarding Employee Drug Testing

Jan 12, 2021

The discussion around drug testing employees can often be a difficult one. Some companies may worry drug testing policies could discourage applicants or offend current employees. Because of this, as an employer, it’s important to know what your rights and responsibilities are. Here, TOPLAB® helps provide confidence that employee drug testing can legally be used to help encourage a safe workplace.

Benefits of Required Drug Testing in Specific Industries

For a lot of industries, employee drug testing has the potential to enrich a workplace, and for some, the practice is even required. Drug-free workplaces help to promote a safer environment and have been proven effective in preventing accidents, avoiding litigation, discouraging lateness, and more. Some of the industries that require drug testing include:

  • Transportation: Working under the influence of drugs or alcohol is especially dangerous when employees are responsible for the livelihood of others. Regulations differ between subsets of this industry, including aviation, mass transit, trucking, and railroads, but the Department of Transportation requires some form of compliance for them all.
  • Construction: Unfortunately, drug use is quite a widespread issue in many facets of construction work. Because of this, unions and contractors alike often require regular drug testing to ensure worksite safety.
  • Sports: There are many levels of athletes that are required to undergo drug testing. In this case, doing so can promote the health and wellness of these athletes, as well as prevent unfair advantages among competitors.

Whether or not your business operates within an industry where drug testing is required, there are obvious advantages to its ability to encourage safe and healthy work environments.

Drug Testing and Employer Rights

If you’ve decided to employ drug screening at your company, there may be legal references you need to consider, including:

Communicate Your Testing Policy

Common legal issues can be avoided by properly communicating your drug testing policy to all employees upon hiring and collecting forms of consent. This practice is not only your responsibility as an employer, but it can also open a dialogue that serves to help ensure employees that you have their health and safety in mind.

Different States Have Different Laws

Because there is no comprehensive federal drug testing law, many states have different qualifications for lawful drug testing. According to the ACLU, “As a general rule, testing is presumed to be lawful unless there is a specific restriction in state or federal law.” Some research may be required to determine what that means for the state in which your business operates.

Timing of Drug Tests

  • Before hiring: Most states allow pre-employment drug testing. In this case, you may need to be cognizant of regulations when it comes to notifying the prospective employee, as well as drug testing all applicants, rather than singling out any individual.
  • After an accident: It may seem natural to screen an employee for drugs or alcohol after they’ve been involved in an accident. However, recent guidance from OSHA suggests employers may want to tread carefully when investigating accidents in order to avoid discouraging employees from disclosing when accidents happen.

Encourage Workplace Safety with TOPLAB®

In some industries, working under the influence can put your company, employees, and others in danger. Help mitigate these risks in your workplace with employment drug testing services from TOPLAB®.  Though our facilities are located in New Jersey, TOPLAB® provides fast and accurate toxicology tests to businesses throughout the United States. Contact us today to see how we can help support safety in your workplace.