Viva Health Blog


To test or not to test. That is the question HR managers often ask themselves. On one hand, you want your employees to be safe and healthy. On the other, you want to garner trust and not break any of the laws surrounding this potentially sensitive issue.

Drug testing typically breaks down into two categories: Pre-hiring drug testing and drug testing current employees. Pre-hiring drug testing is meant to screen potential employees, but it is the drug testing of current employees that can cause a myriad of cultural and legal issues.

If you're considering drug testing your employees, here are some important things to keep in mind:

If you're going to drug test one, you should probably test all.
While this is not an explicit law, it is a standard practice that can keep an employer out of a lot of hot water. Testing only a single employee can open up the possibility of anti-discrimination lawsuits. A drug-tested employee may feel that he or she was only tested due to his or her age, gender, race or any other protected status. This can easily be avoided by drug testing everyone.

If you receive federal funds, drug testing is required.
According to the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act, businesses with $100,000 or more in federal contracts are required to drug test all of their employees. This also applies to businesses that receive federal grants.

In order to test applicants, you may be required to first offer employment.
If your business has more than 15 employees, it must follow the Americans With Disabilities Act. This law forbids any employer to test an applicant without first making a conditional offer of employment. So it's fine to test applicants, but only those who you intend to hire pending the outcome of the test.

Test openly and honestly.
This might seem like common sense, but do not attempt to drug test an employee without his or her consent. This is illegal and can get you and your company into a lot of legal trouble.

Remember, each state has specific drug testing laws.
Each state has its own unique set of rules and regulations regarding employee drug testing. It is imperative to understand these state laws, not only to avoid breaking the law, but to be afforded certain protections as well.

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Last updated 10/1/2019


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