Did you know that 77% or drug users are employed? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this is true. This means there are a lot of drug users out there, and you could be hiring one of them. Drug use in the workplace can contribute to job injuries, violence, accidents on the job, and absenteeism. More and more employers are including prescription medication screening as part of their -employment/background screening process to ensure that they do not hire an individual with a drug problem.
As employers strive to make their workplaces safer for staff and visitors, one of the tools they turn to is prescription medication testing for employees.
Why prescription medication tests are essential for recruitment
The primary reason for prescription medication testing is workplace safety. As Employment lawyers explain, drug and alcohol abuse can lead to higher rates of accident and injury due to worker impairment. Poor judgment and carelessness lead to unnecessary risks, both for the employee who is under the influence and for others around them.
It isn’t just illegal drugs that can cause problems at work. Alcohol, and some prescription medications, will impair your ability to operate machinery or make sensible decisions safely. Workplace health and safety is the responsibility of both employers and employees. For employers, this means giving their staff as much protection from risk as they reasonably can – including the dangers caused by drug-fuelled, dangerous behavior. For employees, it means acting safely and responsibly on work sites. Prescription medication testing ensures that both parties are living up to their responsibilities.
Is It Legal and When Is It Unlawful to Drug Test Employees?
No matter in which where you reside, the law requires that employers take steps to protect employees who are being drug tested. How workers are selected for testing may affect the legality of the process, as those who feel like they’ve been chosen too frequently maybe call employment lawyer and file a lawsuit against you for discrimination. To protect themselves, companies that want to drug test should take care to develop a random process for selecting workers, or they must test all workers at once.
Finally, employers should be aware of both state and federal drug laws before acting on the results of any prescription medication testing.
When to Consider Drug Testing
In certain circumstances, drug testing may be necessary to protect not just the interests of the company but also the broader community. Workers whose jobs require them to drive buses or trains, fly airplanes, or operate heavy machinery regularly could pose a danger to others if they use illicit drugs. To protect the public, many companies with these types of employees perform both pre-employment and random prescription medication testing. Companies in the transportation industry may be required to screen certain employees (those whose impairment constitutes a direct threat to public safety).
Employers may also want to consider prescription medication testing in cases when they have a reasonable suspicion that an employee is under the influence. However, because workers who feel singled out can and hire an employment lawyers to file lawsuits when falsely accused, it’s essential that you don’t test workers based on a whim. “Reasonable” causes for testing may include physical evidence of substance abuse, drugs found in an employee’s locker, and suspicious action, appearance, and conduct on the job.
If you do decide to screen your employees, be sure to follow all the state and regional guidelines for your area. This is the best way to protect both you and your workers in the long term.