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Many businesses require employee drug testing, and yours may be one of them. Not only is it a good indicator of the type of employee you are potentially hiring, but it is a good standard to have when there is an accident in the workplace.

Here are a few things you should know about employee drug testing so you can make an informed decision that’s right for you and your company.

Who Should Be Tested?

Unless your company is run by the government or is a safety-sensitive type of workplace such as mass transit or aviation, drug testing is usually your choice. If you want to be sure that your employees and potential new hires are free from substances, it is an excellent idea.

The reason government agencies and those involved with safety issues require drug testing is that it keeps everyone safe. Not only are drug-free employees a must when it comes to public safety, it also keeps your employees more accident-free.

When Should You Test?

There are certain conditions under which you could test for drugs if your company decides to require it.

  • New Hires: Typically, it is best to require the drug test after you offer employment. This is pretty standard and saves money. After all, why would you want to test someone who you do not plan to hire? It also lets the potential employee know that you require a drug test and helps weed out those who would not be a good fit.
  • After an Accident: If your company requires drug testing, accidents are events where you should definitely have the employee tested. This is because it may release you from liability if the employee was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during their accident. It also helps with learning what may have gone wrong to cause the accident. It can also minimize blame to the company, since this is one aspect where you can prove that an employee was not negligent due to drugs or alcohol. Make sure you have the employee tested within 24 hours in order to get the most accurate results.
  • Suspicion of Use: If you have an employee who you suspect is under the influence of alcohol or drugs while on the job, this is a good time to have a random drug test. It keeps the company safer from liability and ensures that you have employees who are free from illegal substances or who might pose a costly safety hazard.

Things to Keep in Mind

Keep in mind that consistency is important in the workplace. You do not want to look as if you are singling out an employee; you should have sufficient evidence when randomly testing a specific employee.

You should also be fair with your discipline between employees. You should not treat one different from another except in instances where a positive result has happened more than once. For example, an employee tests positive for an illegal drug and is let go from the company, yet another employee also tests positive and is given a warning. This is not only unfair, it is not a good business practice and can open up the door to a discrimination lawsuit.