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Company drug testing is a practical and cost-effective approach to identifying illicit drug use among current staff members or job candidates.

Employers looking to prevent on-the-job use of illicit drugs and alcohol can test for use and terminate staff members who test positive. Employers should know that employees with drug abuse issues do have protections under federal and state laws, specifically under laws pertaining to discrimination and disabilities.

The most prevalent kind of employer drug screening is pre-employment testing. This is a proactive step taken to protect a business from hiring a habitual drug abuser. Other standard testing situations include post-accident investigations, random screenings and scheduled testing.

In many instances, businesses decide what kind of drug screening they will carrying out, unless they are specifically directed otherwise by legal guidelines. For instance, the Department of Transportation has federal drug screening guidelines for those who operate heavy machinery. Drug testing laws can also vary by state.

2019 Employment Drug-Testing Basics

1. Pre-Employment Testing

Employers can screen applicants as part of a hiring process, as well as test staff members under some circumstances. Drug screening laws differ by state, and in some states, there are restrictions on how drug screening can be carried out.

In some employment situations, the law actually calls for drug screening to be performed. For instance, the Department of Transportation calls for mandatory drug testing for certain jobs and industries.

While organizations may arbitrarily screen staff members, they must be consistent in their approach. Employers cannot test some job seekers while not screening others, as such a policy could be fraught with bias and discrimination.

2. Internal or Third-Party Testing

Employers looking to drug test applicants and employees can either secure the services of a business that offers drug screening solutions or perform the drug screening themselves. While drug screening services can be hassle-free, they can also be costly, especially if a lot of screening is performed.

3. Types of Testing

There are multiple kinds of drug tests that an employer can choose from, including blood, saliva and hair tests. Blood and saliva tests are able to detect illicit compounds that are still circulating in bodily fluids, typically just one or two days after the last use.

Not made to detect recent use, hair tests are capable of detecting past use, up to about 90 days. About 100 strands of hair must be cut off close to the scalp to perform this type of drug test.

4. Marijuana Testing

Marijuana screening by employers is a complicated issue: while the use of the drug is illegal under federal law, some states allow for legal marijuana use and some areas do not prosecute users. Employers should seek legal counsel when developing policies around marijuana use.

We Fully Support Drug and Alcohol Testing

At Cornerstone, we fully support all the policies of our clients. If your company is currently looking for a supportive staffing partner, please contact us today.


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