Small Business Brief

Safety & Loss Prevention

An Employer’s Guide to Workplace Drug Testing

Suspect that drug use is minimizing your employees productivity? Workplace drug testing might be the answer. Read on for an employer’s guide to doing correctly.

Whether your small business already has workplace drug testing in place, or you are currently working on refreshing your drug-free workplace policy, you should consider your choices carefully.

There are many laws out there to protect both businesses and employees.

Keep reading to learn more about what you need to do to make sure you stay compliant.

Why Use Workplace Drug Testing?

One important reason to use workplace drug testing is that your state may require it.

But beyond legal requirements, it makes sense for a lot of small businesses.

Employing drug users can impact the quality and productivity of your business and its goods and services.

It can lead to higher rates of absenteeism, an increase in accidents, more workers compensation claims, and higher turnover costs. Try Rapid Detect if you suspect one of your employees may be under the influence.

Facts About Drug Use

Marijuana is the most common drug used by workplace employees. This is followed closely by cocaine. Prescription drug use is coming in a close third and catching up more every year.

Studies from the National Surveys on Drug and Use and Health undercovered important findings that showed drug users were most likely to work at places that had no drug or alcohol testing programs in place.

In addition, a fact sheet from the NCADD reported that people who have had three or more jobs in the last five years are twice as likely to be a drug user than those with two or fewer jobs.

Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to employing drug users since many of them don’t have a drug testing policy in place.

That is why it’s so important that your business take the steps to put a framework in place to prevent hiring someone with an addiction who could potentially do damage to your company.

Drug User Cost to Companies

Workplace drug use costs businesses in the United States billions of dollars every year.

Up to fifty percent of worker’s compensation claims can be attributed to some sort of workplace substance abuse.

In addition, substance abusers have higher medical costs than nonusers. They are also more prone to absenteeism.

That is why you need to terminate any employees that are using drugs at your small business as soon as you find out.

When Should I Drug Test?

Many small businesses begin workplace drug testing from the get-go when the applicant is first given a job offer. This allows them to screen potential drug addicts before they have a chance to enter the office.

Drug testing is also often conducted on existing employees randomly to ensure they are making the right choices.

Some companies choose not to employ workplace drug testing unless they suspect there is a problem. They may decide to test an employee if they seem to be under the influence or is they are constantly absent or late to work.

For worker’s compensation claims, testing should occur to make sure that the employee wasn’t under the influence when the injury occurred.

If your small business begins to perform any kind of regular workplace drug testing, you should make sure you have a written policy in place to notify your employees of any potential tests. Let them know when, how, and why they might be tested.

With a written policy, you will be able to back up any decisions you make and maintain a drug-free environment for your employees.

What Kinds of Drug Tests are There?

There are many different methods to conduct workplace drug testing including urine tests, mouth swap tests, blood test, and hair follicle tests.

Based on the needs of your business, you could choose any one of these tests to ensure your employees are staying healthy on and off the clock.

Blood Drug Tests

A blood test measures what your levels are of certain substances at that time. They are not used that frequently because drugs leave the bloodstream quickly. They may not detect use once a drug’s symptoms have worn off.

Blood drug tests can be used to screen for many popular drugs including:

  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates
  • Methamphetamine
  • Heroine
  • Alcohol

Of course, these aren’t the only drugs that blood gets tested for.

Hair Drug Tests

Hair drug tests are used to see if someone has been using drugs for an extended period of time. They have the ability to go back ninety days and detect the residue of substance abuse.

It is nearly impossible to cheat on this kind of test, although some shady businesses try to sell shampoos they claim will be able to beat the test.

Mouth Swab Drug Tests

Mouth swab tests are only useful in determining if someone is currently under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They are used best when an accident occurs in the workplace to make sure that there were no other factors involved.

It is a cheap and effective way to maintain the safety of your business and its employees.

Urine Drug Tests

Urine tests are the most common kind of workplace drug testing.

These tests can screen for residue from intoxicants in your urine long after the effects have worn off.

They are also relatively affordable and a fairly standard practice for new hires.

Legal Implications of Workplace Drug Testing

When a business decides to use workplace drug testing, they have to make sure to take the steps necessary to protect themselves from potential lawsuits.

If you test one employee, you should consider testing them all. Otherwise, you risk opening your business to a potential discrimination suit. An employee could claim that they were profiled based on their gender, race, or income level.

You should also be sure to drug test if you receive more than $100,000 in funds from federal contracts. This is a standard law that also applies to businesses that are receiving federal funding in the form of grants.

If you have more than fifteen employees, then you are required to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act. This makes it illegal for you to test a potential employee without extending them a conditional offer of employment.

More Advice for Your Small Business

No matter what stage your small business is in, you could benefit from some advice.

Check out our blog for more helpful articles today.