Workplace Drug Testing

Topics: Drug test, Addiction, Employment Pages: 6 (826 words) Published: April 2, 2015
Drug Testing in the
Workplace

What is A Drug Test?
Technical Analysis of a biological specimen,
for example urine, hair, blood, breath air,
sweat, or oral fluid (saliva) – to determine
the presence or absence of specified parent
drugs or their metabolites.

Protections
• In most cases it is legal for employers to test
employees for drugs.  No Federal laws prohibit the
practice. 
• There are several states that restrict or question an
employer’s ability to randomly drug test employees
• Under certain circumstances, someone with a history
of alcoholism or drug addiction may be considered a
qualified individual with a disability under the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other
Federal non-discrimination statues. 

Protections (Cont.)
• The result of a drug test is considered personal
health information protected by the Health
Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPAA), which dictates under what circumstances
and to whom health information may be released.
• DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE ACT (1988)
– Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (1994)

Most Common Reasons for
Drug Testing
• Pre-Hire Drug Testing
• Post-Accident Drug Testing
• Reasonable Suspicion Drug
Testing
• Random Drug Testing

Pre-Hire
• All full-time and part-time applicants
who are considered for a position are
drug tested.
• Applicants who test positive will not be
considered suitable for employment.

Reasonable Suspicion
• Employees are tested on the basis of:
– Direct observation of drug use or the physical
symptoms of being under the influence of a drug
or alcohol.
– Abnormal conduct or erratic behavior while at
work.
– Absenteeism, tardiness or deterioration in work
performance which is continuous and repeated
over time.

Signs and Warnings of Drug Use
for Management
• Physical Signs/Conditions
– Weariness, exhaustion
– Untidiness
– Slurred speech
– Suspiciousness
– Unsteady walk
– Emotional unsteadiness
– Unusual effort to cover arms
Depression/anxiety
– Irritability
– Blank stare
– Absenteeism
– Leaves work area more than necessary
– Unusually high incidence of colds, headaches, etc.
– Consistently unplanned Monday/Friday absences
– Frequent use of unscheduled vacation time
– Repeated two to four day absences

• Accidents
–Takes needless risks
–Higher than average accident rate (on and off the job)
–Disregards safe practices

• Work Patterns
–Inconsistent work quality
–Difficulty in recalling instructions
–Fluctuating periods of activity/work
–Uses more time to complete productivity work/ misses deadlines –Poor judgment/more mistakes than normal
–Increased difficulty in handling complex situations

• Relationship to Others
–Overreacts to real or imagined criticism
–Borrows money
–Avoidance and withdrawal from peers
–Domestic complaints
–Complaints from co-workers
–Persistent job transfer requests

Post-accident
• Employees are tested if they:
– Are involved in on-the-job accidents.
– Engage in unsafe behavior or activities on
the job.
– Pose a danger to themselves or others.
– Pose a danger to the overall operation of
the company.

Random Testing
• Random substance abuse testing is most likely
used to identify any abusers in the workplace.
• Selection must include everyone within the
company. Everyone should have an equal
chance of being selected so there is no chance
for subjectivity, favoritism, or manipulation of
the process.
• This option should be implemented with great
caution and not without legal counsel.

The Effects of drug use in the workplace
Employees that are
substance abusers:





Are less productive.
Miss more workdays.
Are more likely to
injure themselves or
other workers.
File more workers’
compensation claims.

Steps to take if an Employee Request
Treatment for Drug Abuse
1. The organization should partner with an Employee
Assistance Program (EAP).
2. The employee must...

References: “Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse in Your Workplace.” (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2014, from
http://www.ndwa.org/Editor/assets/drugusefacts.pdf.
“DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE ACT OF 1988.” (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2014, from
www.ndwa.org/Editor/assets/federallaw.pdf.
“Drug-Free Workplace Resource Guide.” (n.d.). Retrieved November 14, 2014, from
http://www.tdi.texas.gov/pubs/videoresource/drugfree.pdf
“Elaws - Drug-Free Workplace Advisor.” (n.d.). Retrieved November 20, 2014, from
http://www.dol.gov/elaws/asp/drugfree/drugs/dt.asp#q5
"Employment Screening Benchmark Report, 2014 Edition," HireRight, Inc., March 2014, pp. 21-22.
Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice (2011), Volume 5, Issue 4, p. 6.
“OVERVIEW OF DRUG TESTING.” (n.d.). Retrieved November 17, 2014, from
http://www.ndwa.org/Editor/assets/overviewdrugtesting.pdf
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