In April of 1988, the Drug-Free Workplace Act was passed by Congress to set the standard for eliminating drug use in the workplace. The act was set forth for federal employees requiring them to submit a urine test before starting their employment. Additionally, contractors of over $100,000 and all grant recipients were subject to a drug test. Even though this drug-free workplace policy is solely intended for federal employment, it sets a precedent for all employers, including the private sector. It was an essential policy for defining what an employee had the right to do under their employer’s terms and protecting companies from future harm and liability. 

What types of companies perform drug tests? 

With this in mind, many companies began to develop drug screening policies, intending to maintain a drug-free workplace. While certain industries and positions are more likely to drug screen than others, the initial employment process will likely disclose whether or not a potential employee will be subject to a drug test. Furthermore, drug-free workplace policies must also protect the confidentiality of the employee and ensure safe testing practices. They use companies’ drug screening policies to identify the industry, location, and local jurisdictions. These factors help decipher how strict a company’s drug testing policy will be.  

Precarity and Exceptions to the Act

When the drug-free workplace act went into production, many felt the show violated privacy. Considering American privacy policies, enforcing the act and administering the urine test was challenging and led to many falsifying results. For private companies, administering a urine test felt like an overstep into the workers’ rights. Furthermore, there are certain exceptions and strict guidelines relating to the act’s passing. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires employers to make an offer before submitting the employee for a drug test. However, the ADA prohibits discrimination based on past drug abuse except for the employee entering rehabilitation. 

On the other hand, stricter federal policies exist for federal employees. For example, the United States Department of Transportation allows for random drug testing of its employees to abide by safety protocols. Keep in mind that there is minimum lenience in the transportation industry, especially for public transit and freight operators. 

What happens if a company does not abide by the act?

Harsh penalties exist for companies that do not abide by the Drug-Free Workplace Act. These include having their contact or grant terminated and denial for collaboration in the future. For employees and potential employees, failure of a drug screening may result in the legal denial of their employment. If a current employee fails a drug test, it is also within the legal basis of termination. However, some employers are forgiving based on employment status and if the employee is willing to participate in a rehabilitation program. For government programs such as unemployment benefits or worker’s compensation, a test failure may result in denial from these programs. As an individual, it is important to understand the potential consequences of drug test failure before participating in one. 

The Importance of Drug Testing

Indeed, the Drug-Free Workplace Act was implemented to protect companies from liability and safety concerns. Soteria Screening helps companies maintain these standards and uphold high productivity and success. Soteria Screening Laboratories has over 20 years of experience assisting businesses in maintaining a drug and alcohol-free environment. Ensure a drug-free workplace through Soteria Screening’s efficient and effective drug and alcohol testing process.

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