Drug Testing Your Remote Employees

Even as millions of workers get vaccinated for COVID-19, companies are continuing to have their employees work remotely. This trend is continuing even for new roles at companies, with a recent study from Upwork finding nearly 22% of the workforce will be remote by 2025. New technologies, improved communications, and a more productive workforce are leading the charge behind this transition to permanent or semi-permanent work-from-home schedules. 

This transition provides new opportunities for certain companies and can be a perk during the hiring process. However, along with these opportunities come a new round of challenges. One of those main challenges is knowing how and when to drug test your employees. This gets especially tricky if your employees live in a state that’s different from where your company is headquartered, with different drug laws. 

Less than 10 years ago, only Colorado and Washington had legalized recreational marijuana use. Since then, there’s been a booming interest in passing recreational-use laws and an increase in medicinal use laws. Understanding your rights as a business to drug test your remote workers can help you stay compliant while limiting liability. 

Increased access to medicinal and recreational drugs is a key reason why in 2019 it was discovered that positive drug tests hit a 14-year high. There’s no expectation for this number to go down despite the pandemic, and we’ve already seen an increase in drug overdoses, and a reported increase in drug use to cope with the stress of COVID-19. 

If your company chooses to enforce its drug testing policy, be sure to communicate to employees that it’s subject to change in an effort to promote employee safety. This allows you to update the policy to adapt to new remote employees. One of these adaptations may include clarifying what exactly constitutes a workplace. While your existing policy may state that employees are prohibited from any drug use in the workplace, that may not apply if they’re working from home. Clarifying this policy can help limit your business’s liability while still holding employees accountable. 

Additionally, have a larger conversation with department leads, managers, supervisors, etc. who may be having more video conferences with employees and teach them how to spot impairments or drug use while “on the clock.” Helping coach your supervisors on identifying potential issues can also allow you to speak with the employee(s) before requesting they complete a drug test. 

As regulations change and vary state-to-state, keep your company compliant with your area’s drug and alcohol testing laws. At ARCpoint Labs, we’re committed to helping companies like yours stay up-to-date on new regulations and can help you develop an effective drug and alcohol testing policy. Drafting a testing policy that works for your company can help in multiple ways, including increased productivity and lower accident risks. 

Learn more about our workplace solutions and contact us today to get started building a policy that works for you. 

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