As an employer, there are more factors to consider today regarding pre-employment drug testing than there have been in the past. While some companies are still mandated to test applicants, or are content to continue with their current policies, some businesses have decided to modify or forgo substance screening altogether. In order to decide how your drug screening policy should look it’s good to look at some of the different factors you’ll need to consider.
Regulations – If you employ individuals that operate commercial vehicles you are mandated to perform substance testing. This includes aviation, railroad, mass transit, trucking, pipeline and other industries, including maritime. The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 requires more than pre-employment substance screening. It also includes testing requirements in other situations such as: reasonable suspicion, post-accident, random and follow-up/return-to-duty substance testing of positions that require a commercial driver’s license and defined as safety-sensitive. Although the Department of Transportation has specific regulations regarding types of testing and actions to take following a positive result, they do not dictate the decisions an employer makes regarding hiring, firing or suspension etc. Other federal, state and local laws should be considered though.
Marijuana Laws – Although it might be challenging for employers to keep up with changing state and local laws regarding Marijuana use, it’s imperative to do so. Medical and/or recreational use of Marijuana is now legal in over 30 states. The positivity rate for Marijuana has increased exponentially in the last few years, outpacing all other substances that are typically on a drug screen panel. Public opinion has also shifted as places begin to de-criminalize Marijuana. Well over half the general public now views Marijuana much as they do alcohol. However, this creates a complicated situation for hiring managers, as Marijuana lingers in the body longer than alcohol. Given these factors, certain employers have made the decision to exclude Marijuana from their panel of screening, or in some instances have removed the drug and alcohol screening requirement altogether.
These are some of the factors companies are now considering as they create or revisit their pre-employment drug testing policies. And although many employers will need to continue adhering to industry and position related screening regulations, there are others that would claim, “You’re high!” if you totally eliminate your company’s drug testing.