Random drug testing is becoming an extremely common practice in the workplace. In fact, there aren’t very many companies that don’t require pre-employment screenings before hiring on new workers. However, random tests are completely different than pre-employment tests and the laws are also different.
This is why it is important for employees and employers to know everything possible about the procedures of random drug testing.
The Selection Must Be Random
Random drug testing has garnered a bad reputation over the years and this is due in part to the fact that the testing isn’t actually random. As an employer, if you are just going down through a list and picking employees to test this might seem random, but it isn’t.
In order for the procedure to be completely random, you will need to use some kind of generator. By using a random generator, your employees will ensure that every single one of them shares the same degree of probability of being picked for a random test.
If a certain employee keeps getting picked by the random generator, you should not exempt them from the equation. This might seem unfair to that employee, but it will make it unfair to the other employees if you remove him or her from the queue.
Test Immediately After Notification
When an employee is picked for testing they will be given notification before they are tested. This is when timing becomes crucial. Frequent drug users have little tricks and methods that they can use to throw off a test or avoid detection.
This is why the most crucial element is the time between the notification and the drug test itself. As the employer, you need to limit the time that the employee has to come up with a plan to avoid detection. If employees fail to test within a certain time it can be considered as a refusal to take the test.
Consider Lab Turnaround Times
Even if you are performing the test in-house it is possible that the results will have to be confirmed by an accredited laboratory. This ensures that there is no bias and the results are accurate. You will want this step to be smooth and quick as possible, because if the employee tests positive he or she will no longer be fit to perform his or her duties.
Every day that you are waiting for results it could be a potential risk or a slow down in productivity that you are facing. This is why it is important for the employer to choose an adequate lab that can provide quick turnaround times.
Stay Within State Regulations
It is important for any employer to know that random drug-testing laws are not federally regulated. This means that it is actually up to each state to regulate the laws as they see fit. This is where the confusion sets in because laws will vary from state to state. As the employer, it will be your job to make sure that you are strictly adhering to state regulation.
Not doing so could result in costly fines or the potential closing down of your business.
Always Get Proper Documentation
One of the most important things about the random testing process is documentation. It will be within your best interests to ensure that you are documentation of the entire process. Make sure that you are keeping track of the notifications, employee signatures and the test itself.
With good documentation, you will always have the records that you need to protect yourself in the event of an audit or if the employee files a complaint.
Employees With Prescription Medications
It is true that there are some employees that will probably rely on daily medications to combat certain mental or health issues.. Maybe one of your employees has panic attacks and requires the use of medical marijuana. Maybe one of the employees deals with depression and requires Xanax.
What you need to know is that this does not exempt them from the processor offer them any special privileges. If these individuals fail or refuse to take a test, you are within your legal rights to fire them, even if they can provide proof that a medical physician recommended these drugs for their daily activities.