Everyone is free to drink, smoke, chew khat and do a whole cocktail of other drugs if they so wish. Of course the drugs have to be the legal ones. Use of illegal narcotics is a whole other story from what is on this article. Testing an employee for the usage of drugs is practically pointless because they have the freedom to do that. You, as the employer, cannot wake up one morning and decide to conduct a blanket drug test on all your employees. The law might not say a lot about drug testing in private companies but it does hint at such details. The employee has the right to refuse to be tested if it is pointless.
Industries where testing is compulsory
Before going any further into this article, it is worth pointing out that there are some industries where drug tests are not up for discussion. They are mandatory. To start with, the aviation industry workers must be as sober as possible when they are working. Generally, everyone should be sober when working regardless of their industry. It is just one of those working ethics that no one needs to be taught. Anyway, in the aviation industry, drugs are a serious no-no-no! Honestly, who wants to be flown around by a pilot who is high?
Public transport operators are also supposed to be as sober as possible. In fact, their employers are free to bring in the employee drug testing companies on a weekly or even daily basis to determine whether a specific employee is using drugs or not. This is of course if they are suspected to be on drugs.
You need not be told that in the military drug tests are an everyday thing. With the military, there is little that can be done about the testing because it is the government that conducts these tests. There are military assignments that are very sensitive and they have to make sure that you are not intoxicated.
Drug testing in a private company
When it comes to the private industry, there are laws to abide by. There are situations where you might not be able to test employees’ drug usage. In the case of job applicants, you will want to know whether the person is clean. During the employee screening process, you can conduct the drug tests. However, terms and conditions apply. The applicant should know that the drug test is part of the screening process. All applicants for a specific job must be tested similarly. The job has already been offered contingent on passing the drug test.
For current employees, you cannot test every single person in the company. It must be a specific individual who might be suspected of drug usage. This is especially so after an accident that might have been as a result of drug-induced impairment. The employer can then order for a drug test to be conducted on the employee. Generally, this is what the law states concerning drug testing employees. Consult your company’s lawyer to find out other state-specific laws on this issue.
Lydia Moss has consulted for a number of employee drug testing companies and screening processes. She is an expert in legal matters relating to employment and the relationship between employee and employer.