Employee Drug Screening

Everyone in the workplace should know how employee drug screening rights might affect them.

The employers point to the billions of dollars in lost productivity to substance abuse in the workplace.

Companies also have a concern about higher costs involving workers’ compensation and potential lawsuits.

Employers have a legal duty to provide for its employees, vendors and customers a safe work environment that’s drug free. Hello Yancey here and I’m educating myself to my basic employee rights. That’s why I share what I’ve learned and every employee can do the same. I learned that employers have a legal right to have a written policy of drug testing.

Businesses and organizations want a way to identify employees who are creating a problem because of their drug abuse in the workplace. Employers can ask you to submit to employment drug screening as a “condition of employment”. This means that they can require you to take any one of several different kinds of drug tests. They can do this before, during and after you are employed.

Types of Drug Testing

Pre employment drug testing
This happens before you are hired and is now very common.

Scheduled or periodic testing
Employees are made aware by management that a drug test is coming!

For-cause testing
This happens when the employer has a “reasonable suspicion” that the employee is a drug abuser.

Random Drug testing
Just the opposite of scheduled periodic drug testing. The employer surprises the employee with perhaps a cup to pee in!

Rehabilitation Drug testing
Employees who are recovering from drug abuse problems are exposed to further drug abuse screening.

Job seekers and employees should learn more about the two most used types of drug testing.

Pre employment Drug Testing

Workplace Random Drug Testing

employee drug screening rights

Employees drug testing was made legal by Ronald Reagan in 1986. It was designed to create a Drug Free Federal Workplace. It then became the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988. After that private companies and organizations started using similar forms of the federal act.

Several states have put in place particular laws intended to determine how the various types of employment drug tests are to be used. States such as California allow the courts to decide what employee drug test laws are allowable. This is intended to make sure there is a balance between the employee’s privacy rights and the employers business needs.

Private businesses like yours are not obligated to follow the (SAMHSA) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration guidelines. SAMHSA sets the standard for U.S. government agencies for drug testing employees. Employers who follow SAMHSA guidelines may have a legal advantage if the employee challenges a drug test.

The possible exception to this is those companies that have employee unions where drug testing the employee has to be a part a collective bargaining agreement or negotiation. This applies even if employee law in drug testing is mandatory. Whatever the particular issues are in an employee drug testing policy they have to be negotiated.

employee drug screening rights

Employee Drug Testing Law

There are many different types of employees who are subject to passing an employee drug test. These professions include:

  • military employees
  • government workers
  • transportation employees
  • public safety workers
  • others who consent to drug testing
  • employees on parole

Many consumer advocacy groups maintain that employment drug testing is an infringement on an employees Fourth Amendment Rights. The Fourth Amendment was created to protect citizens from unreasonable search and seizure by the U.S. government. These consumer groups believe that workplace drug testing is covered by the Fourth Amendment.

There are many legal challenges to employee drug testing, especially urine drug testing. Follow this link for more info on why many believe a drug test in employment violates a job seeker and employee constitutional rights. employee drug testing law

Any type of employee testing has caused concerns about employee privacy rights. The (ADA) Americans with Disabilities Act requires drug testing on the job to be watched more closely.

employee drug screening rights

My career as an employee has spanned over 30 years. I have seen and been involved in all types of workplace situations. I have a passion to defend the basic employee rights of my fellow employees! I also have compassion for my fellow employees who have fallen victim to undeserved harassment, demotion, discrimination and termination.

Employee drug screening rights are just as important as the rights of the employer. Unfortunately many employers don’t see it that way. Companies should make sure their drug abuse testing is…

  • non discriminatory
  • private
  • accurate
  • confidential
  • consistent

…and have an employee drug testing policy that is written, easy to understand and well communicated. Workplace drug testing is different from state to state. Some states allow random drug tests while others only if an employee is suspected of being a drug abuser.

Some states employers may not fire an employee for a positive drug test if the employee completes a drug rehab program. Under the federal Drug Free Workplace Act companies doing business with the U.S. government are required to…

  • report employees convicted in job related drug issues
  • make public specific guidelines against drug abuse in workplace areas
  • educate the workforce on workplace substance abuse
  • officially state that drug use while doing business with a federal agency will not be tolerated

employee drug screening rights

Employment Drug Screening

If a company that has federal government contracts employs you, it is highly motivated to obey the requirements of the Drug Free Workplace Act. Even though the law doesn’t force employers to drug test, its in your best interest as an employee to educate yourself about the process.

Protecting the confidentiality of your employment drug tests is essential for your employer to maintain. The company must reveal your drug test in employment results carelessly, inaccurately or to those who shouldn’t have access to it.

If you are terminated because of a drug positive test that is proven afterward to be false you have the option of a lawsuit. You can also dispute the drug detection report given by the drug testing company your employer hired. Learn more about how a false positive or false negative drug test can happen and what to do about. This link will take you there.

Workplace Drug Testing

Employees should always have the opportunity to explain the results of any positive drug test. They should also have the opportunity to have the drug test confirmed or be retested. Many drug testing opponents point to the fact that it doesn’t prove the employee is “high on the job” or unable to perform daily functions.

employee drug screening rights

All positive drug screening tests show is that an employee may have used drugs at sometime in the past. The drug may not have happened on the job or before going to work. Is any of the employers business if you use or abuse drugs on your own time? What about if you are doing your job well?

Those who support a drug screen test say that no employee has a legal right to conduct whether on or off the job. Employers believe they have a right to know if an employee is using any of the commonly tested for “NIDA-5”.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has five categories of drugs that businesses look for in their drug screening. If you want to know what they are follow this link to…

Drug Detection Times

Whatever type of drug testing program your company develops or has in place, it should …

  • have a drug testing policy in writing
  • equal and fair use of that policy
  • respect for the privacy of the workforce
  • be confidential
  • Unfortunately I have worked for companies that did not have much respect for employee drug screening rights. Employees need to understand the other elements of a company drug testing policy to aid in making certain their drug testing rights are not trampled.

    employee drug screening rights

    Qualified MRO
    A Medical Review Officer reviews and interprets lab results obtained through the agency's testing program. The MRO's role is an important safeguard in the testing process. The MRO is required to be a licensed physician responsible for receiving laboratory results generated by a drug testing program.

    The MRO assures respect for personal confidentiality and dignity of the donor. She maintains the confidentiality of medical information, except when public safety is jeopardized. The MRO also keeps a high scientific and medical standard.

    Chain of Custody
    The procedures that govern collection, handling, storage, transportation, and testing of a urine sample. It also correctly matches and distributes the test results in a way that keeps the sample and the results linked to the person who donated the sample. The sample is not altered or tampered with from the point of collection through the reporting of test results.

    Confirmation Test
    A second test used to prove positive results from an initial drug screening test. A confirmation test is made by a method more detailed and usually expensive than a screening test far more reliable and certain.

    As an employee I understand how my employee drug screening rights need to be balanced with the employers right to have a drug free workplace. Issues like public safety, productivity and employee morale are legitimate concerns. When it relates to employee drug screening rights workers who don’t use or abuse drugs have a right not to be unjustly or randomly drug tested.

    Follow this link to see why we are “guilty until proven innocent“ when it comes to employee drug screening rights.

    Workplace random drug testing

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