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Hot News from the IAC-EZ Blog

Using Drug Testing For New Hires

October 23rd, 2013 by Renee

When prospecting for new employees, most employers would prefer not to hire anyone who may use drugs while on the job or even on their own time. Many private companies and even some public organizations use drug testing as part of their hiring process. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that employment drug trusting, when obtained unobtrusively, is not harmful to employees. In fact, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires that employers that receive federal grants be drug-free workplaces or lose funding. However, if you are considering using drug testing for your business as part of the hiring process, there are rules and regulations that need to be followed.

Testing Fairness
One of the largest issues concerning drug testing is the need to be fair to all employees by being consistent. This means that employers must have a standard procedure for testing all prospective employees. State statutes may vary on the types of testing that may be used and the types of facilities that must do the testing. For testing to be fair, all employees must have the same type of testing done if they are offered a position. They cannot be selected for testing due to appearance or mannerisms. It is either all or none.

In addition, testing expectations must be communicated clearly and cannot be done without the employees knowledge. Employers should make it clear that if applicant is offered a position, they will need to successfully pass a drug screen. Employers should never try and conduct secret drug testings by obtaining hair samples without the employees knowledge.

Creating A Drug Testing Policy
Before beginning to drug test employees at the hiring stage, companies should compile a written policy on how they will use drug testing in their hiring procedures. This policy should be reviewed by an attorney specializing in employment law to ensure that it is within the state and federal regulations. Some items to include in the policy:

  • What drugs will be tested for. Be specific in what drugs will be tested and what will constitute a “positive” result.
  • How and where the testing will be conducted. Some states have laws regarding the types of testing that can be used and by what facilities. The policy should outline the type of testing, such as urine, blood or hair and where it will be conducted.
  • What will happen if the applicant tests positive. There should be a clear depiction of what will happen if the test is positive. Some companies may allow for re-testing after a certain period of time or after receiving drug treatment.

For any company that wants to use drug testing as part of their hiring process, it is important that they take the time to put together a solid policy and procedure to ensure they do not overstep any privacy or discrimination laws. When used correctly, it can be a useful tool to help hire quality employees.

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