How to Implement a Successful Workplace Drug Testing Policy
Today, a significant number of drug abusers are employed, particularly in Unites States. It is the responsibility of the employers to identify and screen drug abusing individuals to ensure safe and problem-free workplace environment. It is also their responsibility to implement a workplace drug testing policy that helps in improving productivity, workplace safety, employee morale and decreasing absenteeism, and other negative consequences of employees’ drug abusing habit.
However, an indiscriminate drug testing method always lands the company in troubles by creating liability issues for violating privacy rights of the employees. Hence, it is always recommended to set up an effective drug testing policy. In this article, we will discuss on how to implement a successful drug testing policy, while considering the rights of the employees.
Define and articulate the objectives of drug testing
The common objectives of a drug testing policy should include improvement in workers’ performance, prevent on job accidents, reduce worker’s compensation claims, and work towards a drug-free environment.
The effectiveness of a policy cannot be completely evaluated unless the objectives are clear. Hence, organizations are recommended to clearly define and articulate all objectives of drug testing policy and make employees aware of them (objectives) before initiating the policy.
Different types of employee drug testing
Employee drug testing is broadly categorized into four types: pre-employment testing, random testing, reasonable suspicion and post-accident testing. Under each test, every employee has varying degrees of privacy protection and the employer has differing duties.
Pre-employment drug testing is only for the candidates who are offered an employment and it is conducted before the applicant joins the company. This test becomes effective when the employer makes it mandatory for the applicant to pass a drug screening as a condition for employment.
Random drug testing is conducted on the employees, at any point of time, with or without reason. Taking into account, employees’ reasonable expectation for privacy, random drug testing is not allowed in some parts of the country. However, for employees who work in positions critical to public safety like vehicle driving and navigation, this test is mandatory.
Reasonable suspicion testing is done when an employee is suspected for drug or alcohol abuse. Employer can conduct this test when he suspects an employee (and further confirmation is needed). But, if the employee tests negative for the test, or if the employer fails to show the reason for suspicion, it can lead to liability.
Post-accident testing is conducted when an employee meets with a serious on-job accident and the employer has a reasonable suspicion that the accident occurred due to the involvement of drugs or alcohol. However, the employer needs to provide concrete evidence that made him believe that the accident was a result of drug abuse, before conducting this test.
Drug test all the employees
The next important aspect of effective drug testing is being impartial while conducting the drug tests. The policy should be applied to all the employees without any discrimination and should be evenly conducted (on all the employees) in accordance with the written objectives.
Keep the test results confidential
Privacy rights of the employees should be respected by the company. The details of drug test and its results should be kept confidential. This makes the employees feel less offended.
Use quality and reliable testing kits
The success of employee drug testing depends mostly on the reliability of the testing equipment. Substandard drug test kits are not reliable and often provide false results, which lead to wrong conclusions. Try to use FDA (Food and Drug Administration, US) approved drug test kits.
Recognizing the unhealthy practices of the employees and lending them a helping hand to come out of such habits helps organizations create a drug-free and healthy workplace environment. Such organizations are assured of increased employee productivity and operational efficiency.
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