For every employer, conducting a drug test on potential employees is very important. This helps enhance workplace safety and also saves employers from bad decision-making when it comes to hiring. Drug tests are essential as they discourage the current employees from abusing drugs while at the same time creating workplace safety that will encourage growth and productivity.
However, there are those moments when employees or potential candidates fail the test and knowing how to handle the situation could be very important both for you and the person in question.
For some industries such as federal contractors and other safety-sensitive jobs, compliance with riles related to federal drug testing is a must. These rules clearly outline what steps should be taken in case an employee fails the drug test.
However, for private employers, there is a need to check the state laws in order to avoid potential pitfalls that come with such an exercise. As an employer, it is imperative that you know the drug testing laws within your state as these laws do vary from one state to the other.
Necessary steps to note for failed drug tests
Before discussing the options available to you, it will be important to lay down some necessary thoughts. As you conduct a drug screening exercise, it is first and foremost essential to make sure that the tools used are of high quality as failure to do so could result in serious repercussions.
As such, always establish that the drug test cup you use and the entire procedure is above board and recognized within your state. Once you conduct a thorough drug test and an employee fails, the following steps will be necessary:
Steps to take
Different states have different laws when it comes to the steps employees and employers should take in case of a failed drug test. These are good to understand right from the beginning. However, pre-employment drug tests are more uncomplicated compared to the screening of staff members who are already in existence.
Applicants who test positive can have their job appointments rescinded if at-all the employer has made a conditional offer that is pegged on passing of drug tests. Some states such as Minnesota and Vermont restrict employers from firing their employees in case they fail a test for the first time but this is based on the employee’s agreement to go through a rehabilitation program.
Employees and applicants can also contest results and take confirmatory retesting but the positive results should be communicated within a given time.
Suspension from duty
Some cases allow for employee suspension from duty for a certain period of time. Such cases involve drivers and machine operators for example and this is necessary to ensure safety for such people and other employees or citizens.
If a driver is suspended from duty, they are required to undergo other tests before being restored back to their responsibilities. Failure to complete this kind of a process could expose both the employer and employee to serious fines and thus the need to adhere to the law.
It must be noted that drug screening is not all about passing the test but very much about ensuring safety both for the person being screened and other people as well. Employers should work with recognized labs and use proper equipments and methods such as drug test cup or urine drug test to avoid any legal tussles resulting from the process.
Involve medical professionals and legal counsel
As an employer, the process can be tricky and firing an employee who fails a test shouldn’t be your first option. You must never be seen to be trigger happy when it comes to the dismissal of employees to fail but instead you should follow the due process and ensure that your decisions are compliant with the law.
In case your employee tests positive for something like medical marijuana or other prescribed drugs, it will be important to engage a medical professional and a legal counsel in order to establish what options you have before you.
Firing someone who failed drug screening could result in unnecessary legal tussles and this is something that could drain you and cost you heavily.
Discretion is very important when dealing with an employee who fails a drug test. There should be clear protocol on who gets access to the drug test results and also have a proper way of communicating the results to employees and job applicants. Calls made should be done in an atmosphere that encourages confidentiality and if the results are shared in writing, the employer must clearly indicate that it’s “personal and confidential”.
These are some of the options available to employers whose employees fail drug screening exercise and should be followed to avoid lawsuits. The process must always be seen to be above board and not subject to reproach. Always remember that this kind of testing is not aimed at embarrassing those involved but for maintaining safety and efficiency at workplace.