If you start a drug testing program, be sure it's fair, accurate, and legally defensible. Before setting up the program, you should consult with an attorney. In addition, you should be aware that some employers are legally required to set up drug testing programs.
Remember that many jurisdictions have state laws on drug testing. Many states permit random tests or tests of all job applicants provided that proper notice is given, but some require you to have reasonable or probable cause to believe that the employee who is being asked to submit to the testing is using drugs on the job or is under the influence of drugs while on the job. Some of the states offer discounts on workers' compensation premiums for employers with qualified drug testing programs.
Factors to consider. In deciding whether to institute a drug testing program and the development of that policy, ask the following questions:
- Will you test all employees? If not, what will be the basis for selection?
- Will the testing be done as part of a routine annual physical, done on a random basis, unannounced, or done only for cause?
- How frequently will you test?
- If you test only for cause, how is cause defined? Who will determine it?
- Is the test for cause mandatory firing? What happens if the employee refuses to be tested?