The Importance of Pre-Employment Drug Testing
As a business owner or manager, you know that having the right people on board has a significant impact on productivity, profit, and success. Pre-employment drug testing helps companies identify candidates with substance use issues that may interfere with their ability to do the job or cause safety issues for your team. Before implementing this type of program, learn more about the benefits of drug testing for potential new hires and ensure you adhere to the applicable Washington state laws.
Reasons to Require Employment Drug Testing
Alcohol and drug use are associated with workplace absenteeism and high turnover rates. If you struggle with this issue at your business, consider screening potential candidates for substance use to help build a workforce that will remain with the company for the long haul. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that Americans who have had three or more jobs in the past five years are twice as likely to use illegal drugs as those who have had two or fewer jobs over the same time period.
According to the National Safety Council, while the average worker misses 10.5 days of work for injury or illness each year, the average for a worker who uses drugs or alcohol is 14.8 days or 29 days for an employee who misuses prescription pain medications. What’s more, according to a report by the NCADD, lost productivity because of employee drug and alcohol use totals about $81 billion each year.
It can be cost-prohibitive for companies to provide medical insurance to employees who have substance abuse issues. Spending on health care for substance abuse and its complications topped $120 billion in 2016, according to the NSC, with employers absorbing about 82% of the cost for covered individuals and 71% of the cost for covered families. Increased claims mean a rise in premiums for your entire team.
Since drug and alcohol use impairs judgment and reaction times, having a person with an active substance use disorder on the payroll can result in significant safety issues, especially in industries such as manufacturing and construction. According to the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a person who has a drug or alcohol addiction is three times more likely to cause a workplace injury than an individual who does not have a substance use disorder. Testing employees for drugs before you bring them on board helps keep everyone on your team safe.
State and Federal Drug Testing Regulations
Employers must abide by both federal and state pre-employment drug test laws or risk being sued for discrimination, defamation, or invasion of privacy. In Washington, private companies may drug test prospective employees only after making them a conditional offer of employment and providing advance written notice of the test. This means you should test a job applicant only if you plan to hire him or her if they pass the drug screening and other required checks.
Under federal law, you cannot ask an applicant about his or her substance use history during the interview process. Doing so is a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act and can result in significant fines and sanctions. Additional best practices when implementing a pre-hire drug testing policy include:
- Applying the policy consistently for all prospective employees regardless of experience, race, gender, age, religion, or ethnic background
- Providing a copy of the policy to potential hires in writing
Training hiring managers about how to address drug screening during the interview process
- Protecting the privacy of the applicants when administering drug test and making hiring decisions as a result
- Consulting with an employment attorney if you are unsure about how to proceed with this type of policy
Pre-Employment Drug Testing at ARCPoint Labs of Renton
ARCPoint Labs of Renton is your source for pre-employment drug screening in Washington state. Get in touch today to learn more about our programs and services.
Image Credit: best_nj/shutterstock