When and How Employers Test for Drug and Alcohol Use

By hrlineup | 02.01.2020

Statistics show that at least one in 12 adults between the age of 16 and 59 are using illicit drugs. More than 57% of adults are those that take alcohol through the week. So many problems that ail the societies we live in are associated with use of alcohol and drugs and some of these can be extended to our workplaces. Many employers are having trouble with employees who use alcohol and drugs; there is a higher rate of them being absent from work and performing poorly, without forgetting the increased risk of work-related accidents.

For those reasons and many others, there is need for businesses, especially small businesses to adopt a drug-free work policy, which will allow them to test their employees for drugs as often as it is necessary. According to National Drug-Free Workplace Alliance, small businesses are at a higher risk of getting affected by use of alcohol and drugs by their employees. There is also the question of what jobs require drug testing. First of all, a drug user will not be confident enough to apply for a job in a larger company, as most of them have established policies on drug use. That is why they seek employment in the smaller companies which have fewer resources and the drive to perform drug tests.

When to test for drugs and alcohol use

Employers should consider testing for drugs and alcohol use if they feel that there is a justifiable safety and health risk through a post-employment drug test. First of all, it will be advisable to start with the implementation of a drug and alcohol testing policy in the company. Immediately an employer feels there is a problem, they should come up with a drug, alcohol and substance abuse policy and incorporate it in their overall health and safety policy. This way, employees will not be able to question it when the time to get tested for drugs and alcohol use will come.

Once the policy is in place, an employer can confidently introduce the testing without feeling the need to justify it and to explain its necessity.

How should testing be conducted?

After explaining the risks of drugs and alcohol use in the workplace, employers should be able to come to a conclusion with the employees that testing is necessary. Make sure that all employees are fully engaged and that they are fully aware that testing will be done. Do not test one or a few employees who you feel are using alcohol and drugs. The law is very clear that if you test one, you should probably test all employees. This eliminates any chance of being sued for discrimination. A company can also come up with a policy of conducting a drug test after hired employees have assumed office or before they are given appointment letters through pre-employment drug test laws.

Company drug testing is very important if an employer wants to curb the vice and promote a drug and alcohol free policy in their workplace.