How Does Your Employer View The Pre-Employment Drug Test?

It’s no secret that bad career markets give the employers an upper hand. They have too many candidates applying for too few jobs, and they begin by weeding out potential candidates. During rough economic times, it is even more costly of a mistake to hire, spend money training, and then have to fire an employee.

In many workplaces, drug testing is a matter of safety and necessity. If they hire someone to drive big trucks and their expensive merchandise, they cannot additionally have a driver who poses a liability on the roadways. A forklift operator in a big warehouse store who is drunk is a hindrance to other employees, customers, and the merchandise.

The big question is how do employers feel about drug screening. It’s an important perspective to be aware of because if you are in the market for a new job you may require a drug test (and hair tests are growing in popularity) to secure employment. Usually, there is a whole host of forms to sign to be vetted for a job.

Legal Side

The key is to read the paperwork to find out what your potential employer or present employer will do if you are found with substances in differing degrees in your body.

Prior to stepping anywhere near your HR office, know your state’s individual laws and stance on drug testing. Such state laws dictate how HR screens, what those forms you are signing need to say, and even how to do the drug screening.

Reasonable Cause And Suspicion

If an employer has a reasonable suspicion or cause to think that an employee is abusing drugs, controlled substances, or alcohol while working, then they may test.

Be responsible if you are called in for a test. You may have to go to an offsite location, in which case you want to arrive early. Bring any paperwork as required, and ensure that you do drink between eight and twenty ounces of water prior to the test.

If you are required to take a breath test for alcohol use, then ensure that the facility has that test available prior to making the appointment.

Advance Notice

Companies, remember, spend a lot of money to hire and train people, and it costs a lot of money to fire someone. In that case, smart companies will provide notice of a particular number of days ahead of drug testing. Typically, though, the reason for the notice is that they need to send you to another, offsite testing location.

In general, there are urinalysis and GC/MS tests. The two tests are shipped out to two separate labs, typically. There are accompanying forms that must be shipped with the specimens. The direct supervisor is disqualified from the collection chain.

The collection person must be neutral and know the proper process and adhere to it to get the samples. The urine is collected in a split sample, which means there are two separate containers with urine. The split sample lets employees have one specimen tested at another certified laboratory site.

The minimum amount of urine required is 45 milliliters. Without this amount, it is considered failure to submit to the test. That is the reason it is fair to drink water beforehand. However, if there is insufficient urine produced, the collection site staff are advised to give the employee water to drink to encourage a sample within two hours.

If the employee still cannot produce sufficient urine, then they are sent for a medical evaluation to find out if there is an actual legitimate, medical reason they cannot produce sufficient urine for a drug test.

After Drug Testing

The Medical Review occurs, whereby an MRO reviews the results. They may interview the employee, which can give more information about positive results, which gives the reviewers more reason to go more in-depth in their reviews.

The MRO report can report positive result even if the results of the testing is negative if there is sufficient cause, based on their judgment.
The employer receives test results after the testing, results, and interviewing are all complete.

The Employee Review

The employee/applicant has the right to review the results of the sample and, if they disagree with the results, they can request another test within 72 hours from the medical officer. Because of the detrimental results of failing an employment drug test, there are numerous articles out there with tips for defending against a positive drug test and how to protect the right to privacy.

Employer Standpoint

Review state laws that pertain to drug testing and your particular industry at least as much as you will review the results. Do take a time to review carefully all of the information. In addition, we recommend you try using the hair follicle drug test from Psychemedics.

Even HR can be thrown curveballs. HR does prepare for the unexpected. Even so it is a good idea to review the standard policies for your company because they will give guidance on how to handle reasonable suspicion for testing. Also, it tells how to handle the aftermath of testing and follow-up testing.

What is interesting is that when employers require that employees pay for follow-up testing, the need for testing is drastically reduced. Money motivates employees to adhere to the company drug policies.

Employers want all of its employees to be healthy and safe. They want employees maintain a safe workplace as well.