Many people will be drug tested at least once in their career, for a job. Drug testing is sometimes required before being hired, throughout the employment period, and even during routine procedures. You, as the applicant or employee, have rights when it comes to drug testing and you should know what is legally required before moving forward.
Are companies required to test you?
Some companies are required by state and/or federal laws to drug test their employees. These companies can include aviation, trucking, railroads and other transportation industries or companies that do business with the federal government. Drug and alcohol tests, if applicable, can be required on a periodic basis, as well. Even if a company is not required by a state or federal law to implement drug testing, they may create a policy to establish a drug-free workplace and require testing.
How often and when can companies test you?
Normally companies will test an employee prior to employment, if they have reasonable suspicion, randomly, or due to a workplace injury. There is no requirement or conditions stating when, but it should be clearly outlined in the company policy. When a company depends on a sharp employee focus and awareness, such as in a manufacturing plant or while operating heavy equipment, they may implement random testing or require an employee to be tested when a foreman notices suspicious behavior.
Can I be treated differently?
A company must adopt a consistent policy to enforce across all employees. An employer can be at risk for a discrimination charge if they do not apply the same policy to every employee. If a drug test comes back positive, an employer must follow the company’s policy in proceeding forward. All drug tests must be kept confidential and only employees that “need to know” will be informed of the positive result. These can include direct managers and supervisors, Human Resources, and upper management.
Note: Labs that perform drug tests are extremely sensitive and highly advanced today. Thinking you can circumvent them on any level can prove to be a critical error and preclude you from employment. Additionally, although marijuana has been legalized in small quantities in CA and other states, it is still considered an illegal substance on a Federal level and employers can, and most do enforce drug-free work policies.