It used to be that people could be trusted to come to work in a condition suitable for performing their duties. We all know how tough times are right now. The economy seems to be foremost on everyone’s minds, but other stressors exist such as rising unemployment rates, family crises and marital issues, caring for aging parents, lack of medical insurance, and mounting debt.

The way that some people handle these matters is to simply escape from them altogether by turning to drugs. How does this affect your bottom line as an employer?

Whether the person works behind a desk or drives a semi-truck, it is an unnecessary risk to employ people who engage in drug use.

Substances Detected Through Professional Drug Screening

Drug screening for employment is a service provided by AccuScreen, where the applicant is asked to leave a urine sample at a local laboratory. Illicit drugs such as amphetamines, opiates, cannabinoids, phencyclidine, and cocaine can be detected in even the smallest amounts through a person’s urine; some can even be traced if used in the last 30 days.

Drug Screening: An Employer’s Right

Although drug screening for employment is not a requirement of most privately-owned companies, they have the right to test for illegal substances. Many local and state government jobs have laws that limit or even prohibit drug screening in the workplace except where the job requires testing as mandated by state or Federal regulations.

These are guidelines that were established in 1988 under the “Drug-Free Workplace Act”. It is for these reasons that employers should familiarize themselves with the proper information before putting together a drug screening program.

Drug Screening Guidelines for Government Agencies

When drug screening is performed by Federal or state agencies, guidelines and standardized procedures must be followed as set forth by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For example, a Medical Review Officer (MRO) has to analyze the tests. Another guideline is that they must screen for the five most commonly abused substances, as described above. A third standard set forth by law is that a SAMHSA-approved laboratory must be used.

Drug Screening Guidelines For Private Employers

For private employers, these guidelines are not a requirement by law but should serve as recommendations to help keep companies on solid legal ground should the issue be challenged in court.

In the private sector, it is usually permitted for non-union companies to require an applicant to take a drug test. Should drug testing programs be a part of the hiring process, employers are advised to consult a lawyer to be sure that they are following state and local laws as well as preparing their programs for legal challenges, should they arise.

Drug Screening For Unionized Companies

In the case of a unionized workplace, all union members must be informed of the intention to require drug testing and then the company must negotiate with the labor union. Bargaining must be a part of the negotiation process, even when Federal law requires the testing. This is because particular portions of policy implementation must be agreed upon prior to the testing program being instituted.

Whether your business is government- or privately-owned, AccuScreen has you covered with quick and accurate drug screening for employment services as well as easy-to-read reports.