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What to Know About Drug Testing Your Employees

As an employer, it is your responsibility to create a safe working environment for your employees — both for remote workers and those in the office or out in the field. Drug testing is one way to try and ensure a drug-free work environment.

You can choose when to implement testing, whether for pre-employment, randomly, in response to an accident, or for return-to-duty purposes after an employee has previously tested positive. But be sure to protect yourself and your company by being aware of specific drug testing rules, regulations, and laws. Your employees have rights, and as their employer, part of your job is to protect these rights, no matter what.

Still, there are multiple ways of creating drug-free workplace programs while legally protecting your employees and your business.

Workplace Drug Policies

As the employer, it is illegal for you to drug test an applicant or employee on a whim. However, having a comprehensive drug-free workplace policy in place is well within your rights. These policies typically consist of several legal elements, including a statement of purpose, implementation procedures, a list of you and your employees' responsibilities, and definitions of all terms used. 

Once these policies are in place and approved by a lawyer or legal team, every applicant and employee must be issued a copy of the policy to read, sign, and date. This acknowledgment legally empowers you, as the employer, to request that drug testing be conducted at a state-approved laboratory.

Sounds easy enough, right? Well, there are a few caveats. First, you have to offer the applicant a job before you can request they take a test. After you have offered them the employment opportunity, you must issue the applicant a copy of your drug-free work policy for them to read and sign. If they refuse, you can withdraw your job offer without consequences to either party.

Another aspect to keep in mind is regarding when you drug test current employees. First, you are required by law to provide them with proper notice about any upcoming mandatory testing, including the type of test which will be administered. Unless you see an employee actively using drugs, exhibiting abnormal behavior, or causing a work-related accident, it is illegal to target an individual employee for a mandatory or random drug test. You must test entire departments or at least 50% of your staff.

Random drug testing is also a possibility, but the laws vary from state to state, so make sure you are fully aware of local requirements before implementing such policies. For compliance's sake, you may find double-checking everything with an employment lawyer or human resources professional to be your optimum course of action.

Testing Positive for Marijuana

Depending on your policies, if your employees test positive for any drugs, you may terminate their employment or provide them with therapy or treatment. However, if they only test positive for marijuana, things may need to be handled differently. Even though this drug is illegal at the federal level, if you are in a state that has legalized it for recreational or medical use, this can make things a little tricky.

For one thing, marijuana can stay in a person's system and show up on a drug test for around 30 days after use. So you might have to prove that the employee in question was under the influence and impaired while working. Again, contacting an attorney or human resources professional may be your best bet to protect yourself and your company.

Drug Testing Remote Workers

Remote workers are becoming more the norm as technology constantly changes and companies realize that coming into an office setting is not the only way to conduct business. This newfound freedom has given employers the ability to hire the best person for the job without worrying about location or moving expenses. 

But all these positive changes also come with a few extra challenges, especially in implementing a drug-free company. Being a multi-state employer means learning and dealing with the different laws and regulations in each area you have employees in. This includes federal rules, state and city-specific regulations, and employment laws. Add in the constantly changing nature of marijuana legislation, and this list can seem endless. Hiring a specialized legal council to carefully detail and write out your drug testing policies — with additional sections for each location where your employees reside — can be legally beneficial while saving you time and energy.

Once you have your rules, regulations, and policies in place, you might be wondering how to drug test remote workers. Employers can now use an oral-fluid test, and the entire process takes place in the applicant or employee's home.

These types of Telehealth drug-test collections are easy to perform and cost-effective. But how do they work?

  • Employers mail the oral-fluid testing kit to the home of the candidate or employee.
  • Employers can watch the sample get taken live via Zoom or Skype or have the applicant or employee open the Telehealth app, which records the process from start to finish. The lab views the video prior to testing the received sample.
  • Following step-by-step instructions, the individual taking the test will start the live video conference or open the app. They will swab their mouth with the provided device, seal their specimen, place it in the packaging, fill out provided paperwork, close the package, and mail it to the specified laboratory.
  • Results will be available within 24-48 hours. 

This way of testing is almost fool-proof since the entire test is recorded from start to finish. But there are some legal questions on the issue. So far, this style of testing is not prohibited on a state level, but local regulations may limit how the collection is performed and whether you can use oral specimens or not. 

Countrywide Testing

Drug tests are for more than just employers. At Countrywide Testing, we also offer at-home tests that can also be used for testing family members, athletes, and those in recovery, to name a few. Whatever the situation, our drug tests provide quick answers about an individual's drug use when it is needed most.

Countrywide Testing provides you with FDA-approved tests and access to our parent company, Phamatech, Inc, a SAMHSA, ISO, CLIA, and CAP licensed laboratory. Our government-certified products and laboratory testing services are advanced and effective, so you can rest assured you are getting the most accurate results.

Our tests are convenient, affordable, and reliable. So visit our website and contact us today to see how we can help with all of your drug testing needs and provide you with the peace of mind you deserve.



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