Workplace Drug Testing

There are several different types of employer drug testing programs. Check your State/Local and union contract limitations before instituting any drug testing program


Test all full-time and part-time applicants who are considered for a position. Applicants who test positive will not be considered suitable for employment. Post-accident Employees are tested if they:
• are involved in on-the-job accidents;
• engage in unsafe behavior or activities on the job;
• pose a danger to themselves or others; or
• pose a danger to the overall operation of the company.
Appropriate disciplinary action is taken when tests results are positive.

Reasonable Cause

Employees are tested on the basis of:
• direct observation of drug use or the physical symptoms of being under the influence of a drug or alcohol;
• abnormal conduct or erratic behavior while at work; or
• absenteeism, tardiness or deterioration in work performance which is continuous and repeated over time.


Periodic retesting of employees who have acknowledged substance abuse problems and have participated in or completed substance abuse treatment or rehabilitation programs may be mandated.


Random substance abuse testing is most likely to identify any abusers in the workplace. Selection must include everyone within the company. Everyone should have an equal chance of being selected so there is no chance for subjectivity, favoritism, or manipulation of the process. This option should be implemented with great caution and not without legal counsel.


Announced testing is typically implemented during the annual physical which includes a drug test as one of the many medical tests or procedures. Several issues must be given serious consideration before a testing policy is adopted. A company may choose to have an outside laboratory perform all of the company ’s drug testing or to perform testing on-site. When considering an outside laboratory for testing, the company should verify that the laboratory is a US Department of Health and Human Services National Laboratory certified program. If on-site testing is chosen, it is necessary to have a qualified staff person available to operate the equipment. Also, the testing area must be secured from unauthorized entry and must have a refrigerator and adequate air conditioning. Positive test results obtained in on-site testing should be confirmed by an outside laboratory using an alternative method of testing.
Prior to testing, it is important for the employer to receive written consent to test and to release the test results only to appropriate personnel. An outside laboratory can perform all of a company’s testing so as to minimize the possibility of sample mishandling.

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