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5 Workplace Drug Screening Myths – Busted

5 Workplace Drug Screening Myths – Busted

With the legalization of medical marijuana in major states of the U.S., the line between what’s legal and what’s not just got thinner. This changing legal landscape of drugs has only added to the already prevailing myths and misconceptions about workplace drug screening. It has become increasingly challenging for the employers to run proper screening while remaining compliant with the intricate set of laws and regulations surrounding drugs in the U.S. Here are the 5 common myths about workplace drug screening.

Myth # 1 The employer cannot prohibit the use of medical marijuana at the workplace

At present, 24 U.S. states have decriminalized possession and use of medical marijuana. Five of these jurisdictions have gone one step further and legalized recreational marijuana as well. Nevertheless, it is still  an illegal drug under federal law. Moreover, even with the legalization of medical marijuana, an employer still holds the right to maintain a drug-free workplace and take the necessary actions if he/she suspects an employee to be in violation of the organization’s drug control policies or feels that drug use at workplace is impairing an employee’s productivity affecting his/her ability to do his/her job safely and effectively.
Myth # 2 Drug use at workplace doesn’t impact productivity
Studies show that illicit drug use at work leaves a substantial negative impact on the work environment. Employees under the influence of drugs are more prone to absenteeism and more likely to be involved in workplace illness and injuries. Substance abuse at the workplace not only hampers productivity, but also results in higher turnover rate and higher number of workers’ compensation and disability claims.

Myth # 3 Running drug tests on prospective employees is deemed to be unfair by the law
Under ‘Americans with Disabilities Act’, employers are prohibited from asking prospective employees about prior drug use. The law recognizes that drug testing implicates privacy rights and thus it is subjected to certain limits on how, when, and where it can be done. As an employer, you can’t force a drug test on your prospective employees. However, you are entitled to put a pre-condition of employment wherein the job offer is contingent upon the applicant passing the drug test.

Myth # 4 Drug screening is for blue-collar workers not for management and administrative level employees
Drug abuse victimizes people from all walks of life. Employers should run drug-free workplace programs without discriminating employees against race, age, or their positions within a company.

Myth # 5 Drug screening does not offer any Return On Investment ​
This could not be further from truth. If an employer shows negligence and chooses to hire an employee without running proper drug checks on him/her, they make the company vulnerable to potential litigations and lawsuits for Negligent Hiring. There’s no denying that there are real costs to bad hiring. According to National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), drug abuse costs employers $81 billion annually. Every dollar spent on drug screening saves the employer substantially in the form of mitigation of workplace risks, reduced medical premium and workers’ compensation costs.

The Takeaway

Marijuana legalization and drug-testing laws are in a constant state of flux and will continue to remain so. As an employer, you need to make sure you do not land on the other side of the law while getting job applicants and employees tested for marijuana and other drugs. The key is to arrive at a nexus between maintaining a drug free workplace and protecting the privacy of your prospective and current employees. The need of the hour is to consult professional screening experts and develop standard hiring policies and procedures to ensure state and federal compliance. Private Eyes Inc. provides a full suite of background check services to help you hire smarter and faster. Let our difference be your advantage!

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