Workplace Drug Screening

An unreasonable search and seizure is what workplace drug testing is called by many consumer and legal advocates.

As an invasion of privacy they maintain that it violates rights guaranteed by the fourth and fourteenth amendments to the Constitution of the United States.

Workplace Drug Test

Workplace drug examinations were signed into law by Ronald Reagan with Executive Order 12564. This was intended to create a drug free federal workplace. Private businesses and organizations started using the U.S. government laws as a guide for their own drug abuse testing programs.

The majority of states have some type of workplace drug and alcohol testing. Unfortunately for the employee these drug testing in employment programs are not conducted the same way. In some states the employer can ask you to give a urine sample and submit you to workplace random drug testing.

Hello I’m Yancey and as an employee I’ve been exposed to being drug tested as well. Those who support workplace drug and alcohol abuse testing say companies should expect employees to not be drug impaired on the job.

workplace drug testing

Drug Abuse in the Workplace

Those including myself who oppose employer drug testing agree that employers are justified. They have a duty to make sure that the workplace is safe and secure. However, I agree with those who say drug testing in workplace settings doesn’t prove you are high and can’t perform your job.

If am employee is consistently meeting or exceeding her job performance what is the employers justification for its drug abuse in workplace screening? Unfortunately it makes no difference if you use illicit drugs on or of the job or not at all. If your drug test is positive there may be negative consequences.

If you fail a drug test, what happens next may depend on…

  • potential employer policies
  • your employer’s policies
  • local municipal drug testing laws
  • state drug testing laws
An employer may have a legal right to fire or keep from promoting you according to how workplace in drug testing law applies where you live. You could even lose disability, unemployment or worker’s compensation benefits if you get hurt and then fail to pass a drug test. Check out this link to get more info about employee drug testing law.

Many businesses and organizations should see its in their best interests to help the employee who truly has a drug problem than fire them. It can be very expensive for employers to fire and retrain new employees. An EAP program is one way employers provide help for employees. Follow this link to what does eap stand for?

workplace drug testing

Job seekers and employees don’t have to let the employer drug test them. However, refusing to do so may have negative consequences. The system makes you guilty until proven innocent, even if you show no evidence of drug use.

Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

Job applicants and employees that use drugs that employers test for can expect for those drugs to show up in drug testing and workplace situations. The individual to be tested will be asked to provide a sample for laboratory examination. The specimen given can be tested in various ways such as…

Urine drug testing,
Is not as invasive or expensive as a blood test and it can spot recent and occasional use

Hair strand drug testing
This test method is viewed as extremely accurate and can detect drug use as far as 6 months ago. This test is also non invasive.

Blood Testing
The most accurate way to drug test can also be very expensive.

Saliva drug Testing
Saliva tests can spot recent drug use and can’t be cheated.

Hair alcohol testing
Hair grow produces fatty substances called markers which are only present when alcohol is in the bloodstream. The more markers the more alcohol.

Drug testing of urine is the most inexpensive and common test that employers use. It’s also the only sample test approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. When submitting a sample you may be asked to change clothes and put on a hospital gown. You may then be asked to urinate into a cup while someone watches so that you can’t switch or tamper with the specimen sample.

workplace drug testing

Workplace Drug Testing Law

The testing may also be done in a restroom with no running water and the toilet water has been colored. Your specimen is then collected and sent to a laboratory for analysis. The sample is then tested for whatever drug the employer is looking for or its metabolite.

A metabolite is a substance that’s produced by your body when it ingests a particular drug. Many employers follow some form of federal guideline some don’t. Those that do will follow state and local laws patterned after the (SAMHSA) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Companies that don’t have stable and consistent drug policies may find themselves in employee drug testing lawsuits. Under SAMHSA guidelines businesses will normally test for these most commonly abused drugs.

  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Cocaine (cocaine, cocaethylene, benzoylecognine)
  • Opiates (heroin, codeine, morphine, opium)
  • Cannabinoids (marijuana, hashish- tests for the metabolite)
  • Amphetamines (amphetamine, methamphetamines)
Private organizations and companies that want to create a…

Drug and Alcohol Free Workplace

…use the five drug types for testing called the “NIDA-5”. (NIDA) is the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Recent expansion in the kinds of drugs being abused in society has prompted many drug testing labs to use additional workplace drug tests.

workplace drug testing

The majority of companies use the “Five Screen” NIDA-5 or SAMHSA-5 for the drugs mentioned above. Now businesses and organizations test for other drugs, such as…
  • Methadone
  • Barbutuates (pentobarbital, amobarbital, secobarbitol, butalbital, phenobarbital)
  • Methaqualone (qualuudes)
  • Propoxyphene (darvon compounds)
  • Benzodiazephines (tranquilizers-diazepam, valium, librium, ativan, xanax, clonopin, serax, etc.)
  • LSD
  • Inhalents (Benzene, Xylene, Toluene)
  • Hallicinogens (MDE, MDMA, mescaline, MDA, psilocybin)
  • Ethanol (alcohol)
The more substances involved in the drug testing screen the more the drug testing programs cost. This is normally why a lot of companies only test for the NIDA-5.

Some drugs are not usually included in a drug testing program. Drugs that aren’t frequently tested for include…
  • Fentanyl
  • Propoxyphene
  • methadone
  • Meperidine (demerol)
These drugs are more specific to certain types of professions and groups like drug rehabilitation patients and healthcare employees. Once your sample is given for collection, it is taken to drug testing lab for a two step process.

workplace drug testing

Drug Testing in Employment

The first part is the screening test.This happens to every sample or specimen that passes through the lab. This is usually the part of the process where most errors occur. Since screening tests may not be very detailed they can result in false positives and false negatives.

The second part is the confirmation test. When a sample comes back positive after the screening test it is then tested typically by what’s called mass spectrometry. This method of confirmation testing is very accurate and expensive.

When samples from the screening test come back negative they are thrown away and the negative report is sent to the employer. Specimens that come back with a false positive on the screening test will test negative when the confirmation test is done.

If samples from the screening and confirmation tests are both positive they will be reported as positive to the employer. If you fail or have ever failed a drug employment test the drug testing company will normally keep your test sample for a very long time. They do this to protect themselves from being sued over a disputed test result.

workplace drug testing

Depending on the company a lot of employers don’t usually do a confirmation test if you fail the first screening test. As noted previously the confirmation test is very expensive. If your sample shows positive on the screening test you can request either a re-screening test or confirmation test.

If you haven’t done drugs be as honest with the employer as you can. You can offer to pay for it and suggest the employer select another company that drug tests. If your employer doesn’t approve and you have problems as a result of the positive drug test it may be time to get the advice of a lawyer.

Research has shown that incorrect workplace drug testing happens up to 14% of the time. There are also many drugs sold over the counter that are responsible for a false positive drug test. The amount of time a drug stays in your body is another issue that can affect false positives and false negatives. Follow this link to learn more about drug detection times.

There is every indication that…

company drug testing

…will only continue to invade privacy, increase, and get more sophisticated. Job seekers and employees should learn all they can about drug testing programs before they submit to a drug testing screen.

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