Employee Drug Test: Everything You Need to Know as an Employer

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A Pre-employment employee drug test is common practice in many workplaces today. Especially in workplaces that require sobriety on the job such as operating heavy machinery and patient care. An employee drug test is a preventative measure employers can use to save on increase health care costs, direct medical costs, lost productivity and absenteeism, and other costs associated with employee drug use. 

Should your business be conducting pre-employment drug testing? And if you should how do you do it? As an employer find out everything here in our employee drug test guide.

What Is an Employee Drug Test?

Employee drug testing is used to assess if prospective or current employees use illicit substances or abuse prescription medicine. It is common for employers to require prospective employees to pass a drug test before being offered a job. These tests screen for drugs such as but not limited to:

  • Marijuana 
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamines
  • Opiates
  • Phencyclidine

Kratom is a substance that is quickly growing in use in the USA. Both employers and employees, as well as the law, are unclear on its legality and impact on the workplace.  Find out more about kratom and weather or not you should be testing for it.

Why Should You Require Employee Drug Testing?

First and foremost is workplace safety. If your employees work in high-risk occupations, pre-employment drug tests can mitigate potential workplace incidents and will protect you, the employer, and keep your employees and the public safe. 

Additionally, employee drug testing will improve productivity. Employees using illicit substances are 2.5 times more likely to miss eight or more workdays each year. Substance use can contribute to a 33% drop in productivity in employees.

Pre-employment drug testing screes for these risky potential hires and protects the employer from workplace safety issues and saves the business money.

How Is Testing Conducted?

The most common employment drug tests are urine tests. Urine testing has a reasonably short window of detection, with substances remaining detectable for five to ten days. An alternative is testing hair samples where drug tests can detect substances for up to 90 days. 

Saliva tests are less invasive but have a very short window of detection, usually less than 24 hours, and consequently are not particularly useful for prevention purposes. Blood tests are unlikely to be suitable for employee drug testing. They are very invasive with very short detection periods (only a few hours). 

Is Employee Drug Testing Legal?

Yes, employee drug testing is absolutely legal. The legislation around employee drug testing is ever-changing and varies from state to state. Employers will need to familiarise themselves with their state laws and should consult legal counsel regarding building an employee drug testing policy and compliance. No matter what state you trade in your drug testing policy will need to include the following three best practice guidelines:

  • All applicants must be advised in advance that pre-employment drug testing is part of the selection process
  • Drug tests must be conducted by a state-certified lab
  • All applicants for the same role must undergo the same type of test. 

Employee Drug Testing

Employee drug testing is legal and can be an important workplace safety and risk mitigation process for many employers. Not only will drug tests mitigate risks but it will also save you business time and money. If you liked this article on employee drug testing, make sure you check out our business blog page.