The end goal of any organization is to give their clients quality service. There are many factors that contribute to varying degrees of magnitude towards this goal. Having a carefully crafted plan that is centered around encouraging your employees to be as productive as they can be is essential. The productivity of your employees is the most important thing when it comes to the effective functioning of your organization. There are several factors that have an impact on the productivity of your employees. A safe workplace is perhaps the most one. Drug use threatens the safety of your workplace. Having a drug testing policy in place helps ensure that your workplace is drug-free and safe for all of your employees. It is not only important to have a drug testing policy in place; it can be argued that it is essential. In this article, we are going to give you a compressive guide of how you can implement a drug testing policy in your workplace and all the important things that you need to know about drug testing policies.
Why have a Workplace Drug Testing Policy?
Before we dig any deeper and go into further details, let us first tell you why you need to have a drug testing policy in place for your organization. There are obvious benefits that having a drug testing policy in place is going to provide you, such as:
1- Protection for customers and employees – If you have employees in your workplace that are under the influence of alcohol or any kind of drugs, they may pose a threat to themselves as well as other employees and the customers or clients. There are several unfortunate accidents that can take place due to employees who are under the influence. This is a potentially fatal situation for any company, as even a small incident can cause major damage to the reputation of your organization. It is better to be safe than sorry.
2- Productivity – Employees who are regular users of alcohol or drugs are more likely to miss work more often as compared to employees who don’t use drugs. Even if an employee who is addicted to drugs comes to work, there are chances that they might not be performing very well. This affects the productivity of your overall workforce in a negative way.
3- Health Care Cost – This is a very real scenario that is relatively common; an employee who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs gets into an accident at work, and the company ends up footing their medical bill. This might sound like a stand-alone incident at first. Still, over time in the absence of a drug test policy, the frequency of these accidents increases and can add significantly to the expense of the company.
4- Do your part in helping the community – The fight against addiction and drug abuse is a noble cause; having a drug test policy in place means that you are playing your part towards fighting this problem.
5- Stop drug use – When the writing is on the wall for drug users, they only have two options either they stop using illegal drugs, or they start to look for employment elsewhere. In either of the two scenarios, your organization comes out as the clear winner.
Having a drug test policy in place tells your employees and your clients that your organization is a drug-free workplace. It instills confidence in the clients and ensures the safety of your employees.
Federal and State Compliance laws
While there is no legal for most private companies to have drug testing policies in place, it is always recommended to have a drug testing policy for the reasons that we have mentioned earlier. However, there are some sectors where you are legally required according to federal law to have drug testing policies in place. All federal grantees and contractors are required by law to have drug testing policies in place. Industries and sectors that are related to security and safety also fall under the category where they are required by law to have drug testing policies for organizations.
The laws and regulations regarding mandatory drug testing also vary from state to state. It is essential for you to keep yourself up to date with the latest updates regarding this according to your state. To give you a general idea of the laws that exist for drug testing in the workplace, here are some of the laws that you need to know about:
- Department of Transportation Regulations – Any employers that are regulated by DOT, are required by law to have a drug testing policy in place. The regulations of DOT overrule any local or state regulations as well. To get a detailed guide about the DOT drug testing and regulations by DOT, click here.
- Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 – This act states that any grant recipients or employers working with/for the federal government are required by law to have a drug-free workplace program.
- Marijuana Laws – Most states have marijuana laws in place for drug testing. It is an issue of contention, and you need to make the decision if you want to allow marijuana usage in your workplace or not.
It is important to keep up-to-date with the regulations and requirements of your state regarding drug testing policies. It can land in a lot of legal trouble if you are in violation of any of the state laws. Some states have mandatory requirements, while others have voluntary requirements. You can get a complete guide of the drug testing regulations according to your state from here.
Steps for putting a testing policy in place
When you are considering putting a workplace drug testing policy in place, there are several factors that you need to consider. Here is a step by step guide to putting a workplace drug testing policy in place for your organization.
1- Make sure you have a written policy – This is perhaps the most important step when it comes to implementing a workplace drug testing policy in your company. Make sure that you put in proper time and effort to come up with a written draft that is in compliance with all the laws and regulations. It is best to have a lawyer involved in the process of this draft to ensure that there are no problem areas with the text of your written policy.
2- Pre-employment testing – This is a factor that you need to consider strongly. Pre-employment testing is considered to be one of the most valid forms of drug testing. It should be conducted on all potential employees as a segment of the screening process. One thing to keep in mind here is that pre-employment drug testing should only take place after an employment offer has been made. Otherwise, it is in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
3- Test everyone – When it comes to drug testing, don’t pick and choose. If you are going to test one person or department, make sure that everyone else is also tested as well. Doing this can save you from looking biased and will help you dodge claims of discrimination. If you test only suspected drug users, then you run the risk of potential lawsuits for gender, race, or any other type of discrimination.
4- Know your options – When it comes to workplace drug testing policies, you need to be aware of the options that you have at your disposal. You can use random drug testing in your policy, which means that you can conduct drug tests at any time without any prior notice. It is the most effective method since it makes sure that the process is fair, and no one has any idea when they will be tested. Your second option is Reasonable-suspicion testing; this allows you to test an employee who is showing clear signs of drug use through their behavior. It is important to have all of these options clearly defined and stated in a written form in your workplace drug testing policy.
5- Make sure you are in compliance with state laws – As we have mentioned earlier, different states have different regulations regarding workplace drug testing. Makes sure that no clause of your drug policy is in violation of the state laws.
6- Confidentiality is important – The results of all drug tests that you conduct should be kept confidential. These count as medical information, and it is against the law to make public anyone’s medical information. So, make sure that the samples are taken privately, and the results are discussed in a private setting as well.
7- LCA – Last chance agreement is also a very effective tool to include in your workplace drug testing policy. LCA essentially means instead of terminating an employee who tests positive for illegal substances, give them one last chance to comply with the company drug policy.
These are the major steps that are going to help you implement an effective drug testing policy for your workplace and make sure that you have a workplace environment that is safe and promotes productivity.
How often do random drug tests?
As you can guess by the name, the purpose of random drug testing is to make sure that drug testing in your workplace does not become predictable. Having people tested randomly means that there are fewer chances of drug users to get away or play the system. It is entirely up to you to decide how often these random tests take place in your workplace. The way that most top organizations do it is that they conduct these tests on a randomized portion of the workforce at any given time. How many random employees you want to get tested at any given time is also entirely your call as the employer. It can range between 5% to 100% of your workforce every year.
There are no right or wrong answers here as long as your workplace drug testing policy is doing its job effectively and deterring your employees from being under the influence at work. If the number and frequency of the tests are doing its job effectively, then you are on the right track. If you feel like there are still gaps, then you can increase the frequency of random testing. It all depends on what goal you have in mind and the size of your organization.
How productivity goes up with doing random drug tests?
An effective workplace drug testing policy has a direct impact on the productivity of your employees. It helps boost the productivity of your employees because:
1- It helps weed out the problematic employees. It not only takes out the bad apples but also the effect that they were having on other productive and drug-free employees.
2- It gives a boost to performance. People who were using drugs were not entirely focused on their work. As a result of a drug testing policy, they will avoid using drugs, which means they will be more focused on their task.
3- It improves attendance. People who abuse drugs are often also the ones who are a no show at work. The overall attendance of your workplace improves with drug testing.
4- Drug testing results in fewer accidents and incidents. Employees who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs often tend to be involved in accidents. Drug testing policies roots this problem out. Fewer accidents mean less downtime and more productivity.
We hope that this guide helps you with forming an effective workplace drug testing policy for your organization. In case you’d like any assistance with putting together a workplace drug testing policy or a package for your business, do connect with Lab Testing Solutions at 866-777-8667 or email [email protected]