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Here on the ESS blog, we hope to provide insight into the value of employment background screening. When you are making business decisions, it’s vital to have an open mind and to understand each component of the decision. When considering hiring decisions, background screening can provide a business owner with all the information necessary to make a great business hiring decision. One major component of pre-employment background screening is drug testing. Drug testing regulations can vary based on where you are located in the United States, so we figured it was a good time to talk about how drug testing can look across state lines. 

Here are 4 things to know about drug testing in different states

Regardless of what industry you find yourself in, drug testing is a useful tool for hiring the right people, and in some cases, keeping yourself safe from legal trouble. Not every industry is the same, just as not every state’s laws on drug testing are the same. Let’s take a deeper dive…

Business Across Various States

If you are an employer who has business operations in more than one state, you may think that the law of the state you are headquartered is the only one that applies. This is NOT the case. It is vital for employers operating in multiple states to comply with ALL applicable state laws. This is why having a background check partner well versed in drug testing compliance is so important. 

Federal Drug Testing Regulations Vs State Laws

There are times when a state drug testing law may contradict a federal regulation. There are examples like federal DOT drug and alcohol regulations that supersede the state level. Federal regulations prevail over state laws. One crucial thing to consider however is whether or not as an employer you are covered by a federal mandate to a drug test; it doesn’t apply to the testing of non-covered employees and applicants. If for example a DOT-covered employer also chooses to drug test their non-DOT workers, the non-DOT portion of a company’s program is covered by STATE laws.

Some elements of a drug testing program may not be covered by federal regulations. Sometimes the state may say a first-time positive drug test may warrant action, whereas DOT regulations do not mandate an employee to be terminated. It’s important to know that state laws do apply to you even when complying with federal regulations.  

“Industry Specific”

There are states that have mandatory laws in place for specific industries. Public works contractors in some states require certain compliance. Some states may have rules for nursing homes. Some states may have certain laws mandated for Fire, Police, and/or EMS. Childcare facilities often have state-mandated industry-specific laws. Many of these industries may have intricacies within the mandates that could require drug testing to be conducted for evidence. There may be pre-employment drug testing requirements, reasonable suspicion, or random drug testing to stay in state compliance. It’s important to partner with a team who can provide insight into how this varies across state lines. 

Voluntary Vs Mandatory

There are states that incentivize drug testing, and in some cases encourage employers to conduct drug testing. If a business participates in such a program, it must comply with the testing requirements of that voluntary program. 

On the opposite side, some states mandate drug testing laws that require some employers to participate in drug testing. This would mean basically that any employer with operations in that state must comply with that state’s existing mandatory drug testing law. 

With changes to marijuana drug testing at a state and question marks at the state level, this has become quite a hot-button issue as well. The ability to test for recreational drugs that have been decriminalized like marijuana, and in some places hallucinogenic drugs like psilocybin mushrooms will only continue to make the water muddier. It’s best to have a partner in the background check industry to be able to ask these questions and to lean on when in need. 

If you or someone you know is questioning their drug testing program or has any questions about the legality of background checks for employment in 2022 and beyond, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via our contact form or by phone. We have professionals ready and on the line to help answer your questions and provide answers for drug testing and background check solutions! Thanks for reading and remember to follow us on Linkedin!