Is Drug Testing the Right Thing for Your Company?

Employers can effectively deter substance usage in the workplace by establishing and implementing drug testing programs. While random drug screening procedures only cover a “random group” of employees, periodic drug testing programs cover the whole workforce. If employees use illegal drugs or prescribed medication, they are aware that they will be detected in both situations.

Admittedly, a greater proportion of drug users work. 70% of Americans misuse drugs at work, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (full-time or part-time). Therefore, it’s likely that some employees—regardless of the type of the company—are already abusing marijuana, illegal drugs, or prescription medications.

Drug-screening programs are used by businesses worldwide to filter out employees who take drugs at work or home after hours. Even companies that are not legally compelled to conduct drug tests on new hiring or current employees are now determined to discourage and prevent drug addiction in the workplace. If you are looking to conduct drug tests, here are a few things to consider when establishing a drug testing program.

Be Aware of State Laws (concerning pre-employment screening practices)

Pre-employment drug testing is generally permitted, while some states demand that companies give applicants prior notice.

For example:

In Connecticut, an employer can only perform a random drug test if:

  • According to federal law, testing is permitted.
  • The individual works in a position that the state labor commissioner has identified as high-risk or safety-sensitive.
  • The employee voluntarily engages in the employee assistance program being tested as part of and is sponsored or authorized by the company.

In California, people’s right to privacy is protected by the state constitution; hence “suspicionless” drug testing, like random tests, is only permitted under specific conditions. Pre-employment exams are, however, typically permitted in the Golden State. Employers should also know local legislation.

For instance, unless it is mandated by federal law, random testing is prohibited in San Francisco.

In certain states, a person’s position as a qualified medical marijuana user does not give rise to the right for an employer to refuse to hire them, fire them, fail to promote them or take any other adverse action against them.

Similar laws governing marijuana usage for recreational purposes exist in certain states. Others, like Nebraska, Georgia, and Texas, do not restrict an employer’s choice regarding cannabis use.

Because the regulations in different states vary so greatly, multistate employers must properly understand the laws in the places where they operate.

It Helps You Avoid Hiring Problem Employees

In the US, drug abuse at work costs employers $25 billion annually due to:

  • Productivity decline
  • Absenteeism

Numerous research has shown a link between using alcohol and illegal drugs and decreased productivity. Regular drug users frequently arrive late to work, struggle to focus, and struggle to complete various duties. Employees are inherently more productive in an environment free of drugs.

Drug Testing Can Help Prevent the Spread of Drugs In The Workplace

If there is a well-structured drug screening in place and the office environment actively advocates against drug use, it helps reduce and even prevent the spread of drugs in the workplace. Doing so could lead to major consequences and even leave an employee without a job, which will reflect on their record for life, and it could even lead to incarceration.

Drug Testing Can Help Prevent Accidents Caused by Drug Use

A drug-free workplace indeed is a safer one. This is true for traditional firms and those involved in building, transportation, and other related industries.

Employees under the influence of drugs pose a risk to the general public, their coworkers, and themselves. Carelessness, a brief moment of poor judgment, and poor decision-making can lead to harm and even death. If a person uses heavy equipment or sharp instruments while impaired by prescription or illicit drugs, there is a greater risk of an accident at work.

A drug testing strategy helps businesses establish whether employees involved in a workplace accident were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, in addition to discouraging active drug usage. Post-accident drug screening is the term used to describe the procedure, which comprises analyzing urine or blood samples.

Drug Testing Can Be a Useful Tool for Creating a Drug-Free Work Environment

Your company practically sends out a message that it cares when you actively prevent drug use at work.

Fewer applicants will test positive for various drugs once you adopt pre-employment drug testing alone. Drug abusers are much less likely to consider applying to your organization if they know you undertake applicant drug testing.

Drug Testing Can Help Reduce Drug-Related Absences, Tardiness and Turnover

Employees who use drugs:

  • Are frequently discovered stolen from their seats
  • Are frequently observed leaving the workplace unannounced
  • Call in “sick” way too frequently

After a weekend party, many employees call in sick, but drug users rapidly become repeat offenders. In these situations, suspicion-based drug tests may be conducted to ensure that a worker is not very ill or frequently absent due to drug addiction.

Keeps Insurance Costs Under Control

If your employees become ill or injured while working, workers’ compensation insurance will pay for it. If workplace drug usage is not stopped, your company may have to pay more in workers’ compensation claims and premiums.

A weakened immune system characterizes chronic drug use. Employees who use drugs regularly are more prone to file frequent medical expenditure claims. Your company will spend less on workers’ compensation claims if you adopt a drug screening program and successfully lower employee drug use.

Employers who implement drug-free workplace initiatives may receive a discount on workers’ compensation insurance in several areas. For instance, under state-specific drug-free workplace programs, employers in states such as Washington, Florida, Texas, Georgia, and Virginia might receive 5 to 10 percent credit (a kind of insurance incentive).

Employees that use drugs are more prone to engage in heated debates or have tense interactions with clients or coworkers. A drug-free workplace has several advantages above its costs. Now that multi-panel drug testing kits are available, it is possible to identify a wide range of drugs simultaneously.

This is the rationale behind the widespread desire among millions of small, medium, and large-scale enterprises throughout the globe to check job candidates or current employees for drug usage.

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