Many private companies have put in place policies that require their staff to undergo taking a drug test. In most cases, employees must submit to and pass the drug tests both before and during their employment period.

When implementing a drug test, employers need to understand and follow all state and federal laws. State and municipality laws usually vary in the way they protect private employees’ privacy. The federal rules, on the other hand, do not state much about screening for substance abuse. However, the federal government heavily regulates employers in specific industries (such as military contracting, nuclear energy, and transportation).

Not sure how to establish drug testing policies that fall within the auspices of law? Don’t worry! Here is what you need to know about the legality of drug testing in different situations.

Administering a Pre-Employment Drug Test

Laws regarding drug testing in different states allow private companies to screen new hires for possible drug use. From the employer’s perspective, the sole intent of this drug screening procedure is to encourage a drug-free workplace.

The employer must, however, to adhere to all the regulations as stipulated by the state. These include providing notice and following procedures that aim to prevent discrimination. Also, accurate samples must be used.

Many states allow the implementation of a drug screening on new hires only if:

  • The job candidate is aware that drug screening will be part of the interview process. Usually, the employer is expected to share that information while advertising for the job.
  • The employer has agreed to hire the applicant, subject to passing the drug test.
  • All the other individuals applying for the same job are tested fairly. That means all policies and procedures apply fairly and equally across the board, with no exceptions.
  • The drug test is being carried out by a state-certified laboratory.

Often, most employers that intend to perform drug testing on job applicants include an agreement to submit to screening in their job applications. The job applicants have a right to agree to drug testing or decline. Declining means that the candidate has chosen to turn down the job offer.

Drug Testing During Employment

Many states across the country have employee drug testing laws that define the conditions under which a company may subject employees to drug testing. Typically, employers have to justify the reasons for screening. These can include safety purposes, business necessity, or acting in response to suspicion of drug abuse.

Although laws regarding drug testing often vary from state to state, screening of current employees can take place under the following circumstances:

  • When an employee or their job poses a considerable safety risk to themselves or co-workers.
  • After an employee enrolls in or completes a drug rehabilitation program
  • If an employee causes an incident or accident where the use of illegal drugs is the probable cause
  • When the management has a reasonable cause to suspect that a particular employee is using drugs. Whatever the reason is, it has to be supported by physical evidence or personal behavior.

Need Professional Assistance?

Are you planning to implement a drug test in your organization? Not sure what employee drug testing laws to follow? Relax! Soteria Screening Laboratories is here for you.

We offer different drug screening procedures to suit your testing needs and budget. Even better, we will work closely with you to develop a customized drug testing program that promotes a safe and drug-free workplace, without compromising the law.

To gain access to our drug and alcohol testing sites throughout the United States, please give us a call at (202) 679-6670 or order your test online.

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