Top 7 Mistakes Companies Make When Conducting Employee Drug Tests

employee drug tests

Hiring the right employee is crucial to ensuring that your business stays as productive as possible. But, it’s not always easy to ensure that you get the best candidate for the job.

An effective method to help you choose the right applicant involves the use of drug tests. But, not everyone knows the mistakes they need to keep an eye out for during the process.

Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about employee drug tests.

1. Administering A Test During The Wrong Scenario

As you may expect, complications can easily arise if you administer a drug test during an inappropriate scenario.

For example, many employers have a policy that dictates they’re able to drug test employees if they are suspicious that the worker is using drugs. But, if this evidence is not documented, the employee may be able to take legal action against their employer.

Similarly, this same scenario can occur if an employer decides to enforce their own random drug test policy. To be truly random, this obligation should be managed by a third-party so that you can prevent any conflicts of interest.

2. Not Having a Clearly-Defined Policy

Your company should have a comprehensive policy that dictates when drug tests will be given to employees. Otherwise, you’ll likely encounter issues when attempting to schedule the completion of these tests.

To elaborate, your employees need to be informed that they could be subject to random drug testing, testing after an accident, or testing under reasonable suspicion. Any changes that you make to this policy also need to be announced and implemented immediately.

3. Foregoing Reasonable Suspicion

As previously mentioned, the ‘reasonable suspicion’ that you have needs to be documented in order to serve as a reliable cause for testing. This means witness accounts of a certain employee smelling like alcohol while on the job, security footage of erratic behavior, etc.

Some employers neglect their right to test individuals who they deem to be likely users of drugs or alcohol. This could easily result in a large number of problems down the line, and could even put the safety of other employees at risk.

So, although it takes a handful of extra steps to ensure that you have a valid reason for administering a drug test, it’s worth doing so to protect the safety of those at your facility.

4. Using a Limited Drug Test Panel

A conventional five-panel drug test is often able to provide the results that you need, but it doesn’t cover every substance that your employees may be abusing. For example, certain opiates like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone could slip under the radar during testing.

Over an extended period of time, this could result in your employees’ undetected drug abuse adversely impacting your company. Depending on their role and the size of your business, this could amount to be thousands or even millions of dollars in lost productivity.

So, it’s essential that you use a thorough testing method that can detect a wide variety of substances.

5. No Concrete Action for Positive Testing

If you find that a worker tests positive for a substance, there needs to be some form of disciplinary action set in place. Otherwise, there’s no merit to your drug testing and the entire process ends up being a waste of time.

While not every situation calls for immediate termination, positive testing results should have consequences. These typically include probation, completing a mandatory substance abuse course, etc.

You could also take into account the type of substance that was detected. In general, though, it’s highly recommended that multiple instances of positive testing be met with termination.

6. Not Tailoring your Policies to Fit Your Company

One of the worst things that you can do as an employer is to implement a blanket policy regarding drug testing, as what works for one business may not work at all for another.

For instance, a small athletic apparel company may have a policy regarding the use of narcotics but no official policy regarding the use of alcohol. 
If a company that has delivery drivers makes use of the same set of regulations, there’s no end to the problems that could occur.

The entire purpose of a drug test is to preserve productivity, not punish employees for what they do in their own time. So, you need to identify what substances are most threatening to your company’s productivity and then test for them accordingly.

7. Not Implementing Tests at All

Without drug testing, you run the risk of your employees’ habits interfering with their professional roles.

While establishing this sort of freedom could help you develop a strong relationship with your workers, it could also easily result in a significant amount of lost efficiency. A business that doesn’t test for the presence of THC, for instance, could find that their employees consistently show up to work after smoking marijuana.

Due to the absence of a company drug policy, there would be no consequences, and productivity as a whole would likely plummet.

Avoiding the Pitfalls Associated With Employee Drug Tests Can Seem Difficult

But it doesn’t have to be.

With the above information about employee drug tests in mind, you’ll be well on your way toward making the decisions that are best for the future of your company.

Want to learn more about how we can help? Feel free to get in touch with us today to see what we can do.