ESS has been in the business of employment drug testing for almost 20 years. Over that time we’ve noticed that a lot of employers make some simple but costly mistakes when it comes to drug testing their employees. Today, we want to look at some of the most common errors we’ve seen and what employers can do to correct them. Here is our list of 5 mistakes to avoid when handling your employee drug screening.
Drug Testing Policy Too Vague or Non-Existent
A written policy on drug testing isn’t mandatory for every business because not all states have the same drug testing laws. However, having a written policy in place anyway will always make things easier down the road. Additionally, a lot of the time a company’s written policy will be too vague to be of much use. Having a clearly defined and transparent policy will ensure everyone’s on the same page. A good employee drug screening policy should include 3 key items. The types of testing that may be required, disciplinary steps for a positive result, and what conduct is prohibited.
Inconsistent Disciplinary Action
In some cases employers try to bend their rules on drug testing to favor their longer standing employees. For example, an employee of 20 years may be given a lesser penalty for a positive test, whereas a newer employee may be terminated on the spot. It’s important to be consistent with all employees when it comes to drug testing and possible disciplinary action. Otherwise you may be opening yourself up to a possible discrimination lawsuit.
Supervisors Lack Training
When you establish a comprehensive drug testing policy you need to make sure your staff is up to speed. Supervisors in particular may need training to get a clear idea of their duties regarding employee drug tests. The biggest hurdle is usually identifying what qualifies as reasonable suspicion in the workplace. Management needs to have a clear idea of what behavior might indicate drug use so they can help you enforce a drug free environment.
Conducting Reasonable Suspicion Drug Tests Too Late
Timing is crucial when it comes to employee drug screening. Markers for drugs and alcohol don’t stay in the body forever. In most cases, evidence of substance abuse that violates company policy will be gone in 24 to 48 hours. It is imperative to conduct tests immediately when you notice anything that satisfies your reasonable suspicion testing requirements.
No Discipline In Place For Refusing Testing
Even companies with a clearly established written drug policy may forget to address employees who refuse testing. Without specific penalties in place such as suspension or termination, the employer loses a lot of their power. Either the employee never gets tested or they can delay the process long enough to the point where the drugs are no longer in their system.