Drug testing policies are useful and necessary to preserve a healthy work environment. The main purpose is to avoid accidents caused by employees under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Also, by implementing a drug testing policy, certain states benefit employers with compensation insurance discounts for their employees. Following the employment law implemented by each state is crucial.

Given the benefits, creating and adopting a drug testing policy should be a priority for employers. Nevertheless, the employer must follow the respective drug testing laws by state, which aim to diminish misunderstandings or discrimination cases. This way, drug testing laws benefit and protect both employees and employers.

Creating an Adequate Policy

Drug testing policies are beneficial if done properly. Here are some aspects to consider before creating and implementing one: 

Pre-Employment Testing Restrictions

States allow employer drug testing laws as a job application requirement when:

  • The employer has given formal notice in the job posting about the drug test. All applicants who desire to obtain the position will be tested without exceptions. Examples of states requiring to follow this law are Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and Washington.
  • An employment offer has been made to the applicant, conditioned to passing a drug screening. Some states conditioned to this principle are Alabama, Kansas, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and Washington.
  • Refusal to take a drug test implies to not be considered for the job. States who require to apply this condition are Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Maine, and Utah.

Employment Law Drug Testing Restrictions

Some states require employers to comply with laws to regulate employees’ regardless of the suspicion of illegal substances. Nonetheless, employers must test under clear motive, otherwise it could be considered as unconstitutional. Legally accepted motives to request a drug test from employees are:

  • The job position implies a high risk to the employee, as well as to their co-workers.
  • The employer has reasonable suspicion of the employee using illegal substances during work. Including but not limited, to potential accidents caused by impaired workers. An example where this is required by law is in the state of Oregon.
  • The employee has recently finished or is currently doing a rehabilitation program.
  • Employees working under safety-sensitive positions. Examples of states regulated under this measure are South Dakota, Rhode Island, New York, Nevada, Montana, Kansas, and California.

The previous conditions were the most common examples of regulations in the employment law. Nonetheless, there are some states where testing is not restricted.

Medical Use of Drugs 

Depending on the state, certain drugs have now become legal for medical purposes. With the legalization of drugs, it is likely for more employees to fail the drug screening. Nonetheless, the employer is not obligated to accommodate employees who use medical marijuana. 

Employees who use medical marijuana can be fired for failing the drug test, even if they have not consumed during work hours. 

Regardless of the state and its status of consumption of this drug, employers should bring awareness about the policy implications and consequences to their employees.

DOT Requirements According to Employment Law 

The Department of Defense (DOT) has exclusive regulations to test employees working under the Department of Transportation. Some examples include pilots, truck or taxi drivers, etc.

The company policy should not apply DOT regulations to employees which tasks do not fit under the Department of Transportation. This might be considered illegal since average employees must be drug tested accordingly to state laws.

We hope that we have highlighted the importance of complying with state laws and drug testing. With Soteria Screening Laboratories you can start implementing your drug testing policy today. Reach out to us for help!

Skip to content