Drug/substance abuse testing of employees | Practical Law
When you suspect an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, testing is to follow the Department of Transportation's guidelines. This has made drug testing a confusing matter for employers. In Colorado, state politicians have been working to define a set of drug-testing guidelines. This will minimize your risk of legal implications and public relations issues. by law) to only conduct pre-employment drug tests after an offer of employment has been. problems at work. 2 DRUG MISUSE AT WORK a guide for employers a deterioration in relationships with colleagues, customers or management;. ❑ .. pre-employment testing), partly because of the practical and legal issues involved.
Companies that fail to have procedures in place for this type of testing — regardless of the outcome — put themselves at risk for legal liability, fines and financial losses. What should I be looking for? A simple hunch or gut feeling is not an acceptable basis for directing an employee to submit to reasonable suspicion testing. A reasonable suspicion test is warranted if you have current, direct, observable behavior that leads you to believe an employee may be impaired while at work.
Remember, these can include signs associated with physical appearance, behavior or perceived mental state. There are a few scenarios in which a single factor would be cause for reasonable suspicion testing. If an employee is directly observed to be in possession and consuming drugs or alcohol on the job, employers can request the employee submit to a drug test.
Each DOT mandated agency has similar wording concerning reasonable suspicion testing. What if another worker notices something strange?
Encourage all employees to understand the symptoms of on-the-job drug or alcohol use among their coworkers. Create an environment which promotes trust and confidence so employees feel comfortable coming forward to report a concern. When an employee expresses a concern about a co-worker, use it as an opportunity to be on alert. If they noticed irregularities in an employee or their behavior caused by intoxication, chances are you will too.
Allow them to observe the worker, draw their own conclusions and offer an opinion.
Drug/substance abuse testing of employees
If both supervisors agree, the basis for reasonable suspicion testing is much stronger. Do I have to document my suspicion? How do I tell the employee? First, you should clearly and thoroughly document the observed facts.
Every company should include a documentation procedure for reasonable suspicion testing. Provide the employee a consent form for the test.
- Workplace Drug Testing and Worker Drug Use
If an employee refuses to submit to the test, most companies treat a refusal as a positive test with the same potential consequences. Unless you choose a drug testing company that offers on-site services, a supervisor, manager or human resources representative must provide transportation for the employee to the testing clinic.
And second, do individuals report accurate information about their drug use?
Workplace Drug Testing and Worker Drug Use
To answer the first question, we examined self-reported drug testing data from the NHSDA to independent worksite survey data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Moreover, these rates by industry revealed qualitatively identical and quantitatively similar patterns in the industries in which testing is most highly concentrated: The geographic testing patterns also generally conformed across the two sources, with the highest testing rates reported in the South and the lowest in the Northeast.
These patterns suggest that individual self-reports of workplace testing are consistent with independent measures of actual testing practices. Of course, if the propensity to underreport substance use is uncorrelated with the presence of testing, then this concern is quite minor in the context of evaluating the deterrence hypothesis. More worrisome, however, is the possibility that underreporting in the NHSDA survey is correlated with workplace testing. For example, individuals who face large work sanctions such as job loss if they get caught using drugs may simply be less likely to tell anyone that they use drugs.
To provide some evidence on this issue we estimated models relating drug use to the likelihood of detection as proxied by whether the firm tests at hire, at random, or both that excluded individuals with the strongest incentives to underreport use: Even in this subsample, we found that individuals whose employers test for drug use were significantly less likely to report past month marijuana use. Moreover, the evidence for the deterrence hypothesis remained: That these tests of the deterrence hypothesis survive exclusion of individuals who should be most susceptible to testing-based underreporting is consistent with a deterrent effect of drug testing.
These alternative hypotheses highlight the fact that this study is subject to some important limitations, all of which are shared by previous studies using these data. One problem is that the NHSDA does not provide information on the location of drug use or the degree of impairment associated with such use. Much of the controversy regarding drug testing surrounds the fact that testing positive for, say, marijuana use need not imply that the individual is impaired At Work.
As impairment is the more relevant concern for employers, one could argue that examining the effect of testing on marijuana use is somewhat misguided. Cross-sectional data also limit the strength of our conclusions with respect to the underlying structural relationships between drug testing and drug use: To the extent that the negative relationship in the cross-section between testing and use survives these controls, this increases support for the hypothesis that the differentials are true testing effects.
Our approach cannot prove, however, that drug testing causes a reduction in use. That is, are any benefits with respect to increased productivity, decreased accidents, etc. Given that these costs have risen substantially in recent years—now representing a nontrivial expense for employers—the answer to this question is not obvious.
Such a calculation would also require an estimate of the additional job search costs imposed on various types of workers with different preferences regarding drug use and workplace drug testing policy.
Given that the current paper cannot pinpoint causality directly, these questions—while important—are beyond our scope. Despite these limitations, this paper has advanced the previous literature by providing a more comprehensive analysis of workplace drug testing and worker substance use.Random Drug Test at Work
Overall, the results are most consistent with a deterrent effect of workplace drug testing on worker drug use that cannot be easily explained away by omitted variables about firms or workers, or by selection and sorting stories. We estimate that respondents subject to workplace drug testing are about 0. Future work might use these estimates in combination with evidence on the association between drug testing and productivity to provide new insight on underlying structural relationships between substance use and workplace outcomes.
All errors are those of the author. We focus on — because these are the only years to provide data on penalty severity, and sample sizes in these years were increased such that at least households per state were sampled. There were some substantive changes that accompanied the name change inincluding the provision of a monetary incentive to respondents.