Drug Testing Rules for Employees in the US

Drug testing is a sensitive issue for many employers and employees alike. It is a practice that has been adopted by many companies in the US, especially those in industries that involve safety and security. While there is no federal requirement for most private employers to have a drug-free employment policy, there are certain exceptions. Federal contractors and dealers, as well as industries and positions sensitive to safety and security, must adhere to mandatory guidelines for federal workplace drug testing programs.

The Executive Committee of the Inter-Agency Coordinating Group (ICGEC) does not need to review an agency with a certified plan to begin screening for the four semisynthetic opioids (oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone). If you don't have a certified plan, contact DWP at 240-276-2600 for next steps. The addition of the four semisynthetic opioids (oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone) to the drug testing panel is not considered a “substantial change” in an agency's plan. The chemical analyte tested in both the initial screening test and the confirmatory test is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (THCA).

The collector notifies the federal agency of the authorization to collect an oral fluid sample or follows the federal agency's standard protocol. If authorized, the collector will proceed to collect oral fluid. If not authorized, the collector suspends collection and informs the federal agency and the MRO that the donor cannot provide a sufficient urine sample. The MRO notifies the federal agency to direct the donor to obtain an evaluation from a licensed physician, acceptable to the MRO, of any pre-existing condition that prevents or prevents the applicant or employee from providing sufficient urine for drug testing. The MRO can perform the evaluation if you meet the requirements.

Depending on the MRO determination based on the medical evaluation, other measures may be warranted. Laboratories certified by the NLCP underwent performance testing (PT) before they were approved to start testing donor drugs. The laboratories received a set of practice PT samples and three sets of qualified PT. A post-implementation PT set was sent to laboratories that successfully completed previous PT sets.

In addition, the reliability of laboratories to meet the requirements of the guidelines is evaluated by means of maintenance PT sets that are shipped every three months. Drug testing is designed to detect and punish conduct that normally takes place outside the service and outside the employer's facilities, that is, in private. Employers who randomly drug test workers who are not suspected of using drugs are monitoring private behavior that has no impact on job performance. Few areas of employer research concern employees and civil liberties groups as much as the growing tendency of employers to insist that employees and job applicants submit to often invasive drug testing. Employers rightly argue that safety of public and their co-workers may depend on alertness of their co-workers. Employers rightly point out that employers will be responsible if an employee, under influence of narcotics or alcohol, injures third party.

Employers rightly point out that any rational employer can prohibit lawbreakers from employment, such as many addicts. However, idea of employer invading employer's own person and privacy deeply upsets many Americans, and in some states it has tended to limit type and scope of workplace drug testing. As will be seen, some states, such as California, have recently stated that courts are even more restrictive than legislature when it comes to evaluating appropriate drug testing in workplace. While law only applies to federal employees, many state and local governments followed suit and adopted similar programs under state laws and drug-free workplace programs. Constitution of United States does not prohibit drug testing for employees. However, three constitutional issues have arisen in relation to drug testing. Supreme Court case against employees of Treasury v Constitution prohibits government from carrying out unreasonable searches and seizures of citizens and their property.

Therefore, for any government employing entity, all such tests must meet “reasonableness” requirement of Fourth Amendment. Court also ruled that positive test results could not be used in any subsequent criminal proceedings without employee's consent. Second important constitutional issue in drug testing employees has to do with Fifth Amendment prohibition that prohibits government from forcing citizen to incriminate himself. This law, unlike Fourth Amendment, was made applicable to states by Fourteenth Amendment which prohibits denial of life, liberty or property without “due process of law”.Since most private sector employees in United States (with exception of most union employees) are considered “at-will employees”, employer does not need to explain reason for termination of employment relationship. However, under certain circumstances denial of employment or denial of continued employment based on drug test results may invoke “due process” considerations such as validity of test results, employee's right to respond or any required notification to employee. MANDATORY TESTING UNDER FEDERAL LAW Under federal law jobs that involve protective or safety functions generally require applicants or employees to undergo mandatory drug testing.

Department of Transportation adopted revised regulations in August 2001 and other agencies are free to adopt their own internal regulations. Similarly many states expressly require drug testing for similar jobs such as jobs in fields of medicine and health jobs that require use of machinery or vehicles security posts food handling jobs or physically demanding jobs such as public services cable line installation or climbing. UNDER FEDERAL LAW CAUSAL TESTS VS RANDOMIZED TESTS In general employers are authorized to conduct either causal tests or randomized tests depending on circumstances surrounding job position. Causal tests are conducted when there is reasonable suspicion that employee is using drugs while randomized tests are conducted when there is no reasonable suspicion but rather random selection process used by employer. In either case employers must adhere to certain guidelines when conducting tests such as providing notice informing employee about test providing opportunity for employee to explain any positive results providing opportunity for employee to challenge results etc. In conclusion while there is no federal requirement for most private employers to have a drug-free employment policy there are certain exceptions such as federal contractors dealers industries positions sensitive to safety security etc which must adhere mandatory guidelines for federal workplace drug testing programs. Employers must also adhere certain guidelines when conducting tests such as providing notice informing employee about test providing opportunity for employee explain any positive results providing opportunity for employee challenge results etc.

Cornelius Maxon
Cornelius Maxon

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