Last updated: November 27, 2023
If you don’t include a random drug test in your drug-free program, you might consider it after you hear this!
A whopping 40% of illicit drug users in the United States say that when a company drug tests, they aren’t likely to apply.
A lot of people can refrain from drug use long enough to clean out their system and get a job. There’s no way to plan ahead for a random test though. That’s why employers who add a random drug test to their drug-free policies are more likely to attract employees who never use them.
It’s important to set up your random program correctly. You greatly reduce the threat of a future lawsuit if an employee feels they were discriminated against.
Don’t use a hat
It’s best not to select employees for the random drug test list by drawing names out of a hat, throwing darts, or drawing straws. Even if it’s done wearing a blindfold, if an employee tests positive they may accuse you of foul play and hit you with a lawsuit.
Take it off-site
Having a third party manage your random process is the best-case scenario.
They use computer software to generate a random list. All you have to do is make sure they have a current list of employees for the name pool.
Don’t give it away
The purpose of a random drug test is to catch any users unaware. If the random tests always come up at the same time of year, it won’t be long before they’re expected.
That totally defeats the purpose, so mix it up and keep them guessing.
Communication is the key
Document your reason for conducting random drug tests throughout your policy, protocols, employee training, and education.
Focus on the fact that drug-free programs increase workplace safety. And, when discussing the random drug test, mention that 40% statistic.
The majority of employees don’t use drugs and will be open to plans that reduce drug use in the workplace.
Sometimes random doesn’t seem fair
It may not have happened within every company that conducts random drug testing, but you can bet it’s happened in a lot.
Some people seem to have a knack for having their name pop up on the random list fairly frequently and some may never have their name come up at all.
Employees have complained that it’s not fair—especially if their name is the one that keeps winding up on the list!
If the subject comes up, ensure your employee that it’s truly just the “luck of the draw.”
If a name is removed from the test pool after someone is randomly tested and isn’t added again until everyone’s tested, any drug users would know they were “home free” until it was time to put their name back in the draw.
You might ask if they play the lottery, too—they may have a pretty good chance at winning!