Last updated: September 25, 2023
Many employers use drug tests to screen job applicants and to monitor their current employees. This is particularly important in many jobs. From where people operate heavy equipment to those who drive, as many positions have potential for high injuries.
If someone is injured on the job, employers must pay for their medical expenses, so they will often ask the employee to submit to a drug test to rule out any fault on the employee’s part. In some states, a positive drug test (or refusal to take the test) may give employers the authority to deny worker’s compensation, unemployment or disability benefits.
Drug testing policies should be made available upon hire, for example, in the company’s handbook or via other written means. In some states, employers are allowed to implement random drug testing; however, testing procedures must be transparent and truly random or else employees can make a case for discrimination.
Under drug testing laws, employers might legally have good cause to fire or deny promotion, while potential employers might justifiably refuse to hire the person. When potential employees are fired for failing a drug test, injure themselves, then test positive for drug usage laws might even allow the employer to deny unemployment, worker’s compensation or disability benefits.
Laws about drugs are different from state to state, and sometimes overlap with federal law. For example, federal law prohibits the sale and possession of marijuana; however, Colorado and Washington have recently decriminalized both. Regardless of state laws, employers still maintain the right to screen employees and can choose to not hire or to fire for that reason. For this reason it is still a good policy to have drug testing policies in writing and available for employees and potential employees.
Not using drugs is the best approach to having to take a drug test. While there is a plethora of information and products for sale online that purport to rid the body of any traces of drugs, the most reliable way to pass a drug test is to not do drugs.
Our mobile services come to the rescue of many employers, but there is still hope for those who are seeking abuse assistance after failing the drug test. Some employers will not outright fire an employee, but instead offer a treatment program as a requirement for staying employed. Some state laws even limit what kind of disciplinary action employers can take for an employee’s first offense. It costs employers money to fire employees and to hire replacements. So, treatment programs might be a cheaper alternative and produce more dedicated employees.