Drug Testing at the Workplace

Drug testing plays an essential role in ensuring safety in the workplace, school and elsewhere. In the past, employers tended to focus on whether drugs were used in the workplace rather than how they happened to be present. However, with the consistent high rate of workplace accidents, job loss, and substance abuse that seem to be associated with most professions, employers are now focusing on the ability of an employee to perform safely at work and to create a safe workplace environment. A drug test, therefore, is an important technical examination of a specific biological sample, such as blood, urine, saliva, hair, breath, and/or blood (to identify the presence or absence of specific parent substances or their metabolites) taken from the employee. Click here

The Increasing prevalence of Drug Testing at Work

In some states, requiring drug testing can be used to weed out employees with a substance abuse problem, but there are limits as to how far employers may go in exercising this option. For example, a state may require drug screening if an applicant is suspected of drug abuse or if the employee fails a drug screening; such a procedure could be used to uncover drug use by a person who is not otherwise employed. Similarly, courts have upheld the constitutionality of requiring drug screening of drivers involved in a serious car accident, protecting the rights of innocent third parties from the danger of drunk driving. And while an employer may choose not to inquire about a drug screening, a court can enforce an employer’s decision if it is reasonably suspected that an employee engaged in illegal drug use. In these cases, a court has generally held that drug screening is an exception to the employer’s general rule against hiring employees with illicit drug tendencies.

Drug testing, however, varies by state. Therefore, an applicant should research the various state laws to be sure that the substances being tested are permissible under those state laws. Drug testing, unlike fingerprinting or other employment screening procedures, cannot be used to screen people with prior criminal histories. An applicant seeking employment should therefore not undergo a drug testing procedure simply because his previous employment history revealed that he was using controlled substances.

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