With an increasing number of states legalizing recreational marijuana, workplace drug testing has been opened to a new discussion. Before focusing on that discussion, let us look at the reasons why companies do drug tests.
The number one reason why companies drug test is risk mitigation. Drug-testing is a surefire way to provide a safer work environment by effectively preventing accidents, health issues and costs, and potential litigation. Drug testing can alleviate employers’ liability especially when screening applicants for positions or ensuring current employees are doing their part to support a safe work environment.
There are reasons why companies do not drug test. A couple of those reasons are cost and a negative effect on the hiring process and candidate experience. Drug testing upon suspicion or any inconsistencies on drug testing during the interview process may also lead to potential discrimination allegations. OSHA has, at times, been very particular regarding the rules and execution of drug testing by employers.
Nearly every person you encounter has been drug tested for a job, drug tested randomly during a job, or at least knows someone who has drug tested. The companies that are drug testing the most, whether randomly or during the application process, are typically companies with a safety concern. For example, an electrical contracting company will be much more likely to randomly drug test employees as they are working with high voltage. If an employee is impaired by a substance it is a huge liability for safety and OSHA violations. A trucking company would also be more likely to implement drug testing to ensure safety as employees may be driving semi-trucks long distances. Companies with 90% of employees who have more sedentary positions may be more lax regarding drug testing on hire and randomly.
The legalization of recreational marijuana has created the discussion of whether to include the presence of THC and other cannabinoids in drug-testing screens. If you are a national company, it would be simplest to have a no-tolerance policy as marijuana is not federally legal yet. However, ultimately, the decision of whether to drug test applicants and employees is up to the company, the employer. There are options for what a drug test may screen for, and there are both positives and negatives to each and every option. No matter what option you choose, you should consult an employment attorney to make sure you are following all OSHA guidelines for workplace drug testing.
At Worthy, we are here to help YOU decide what is the best option for your company. Our Risk Management team is a great resource for risk mitigation. Our Account Managers and Customer Service Specialists are also here to ensure YOU have the strongest liability coverage you need. Whether you or a client or not, give us a call for any questions regarding the legalization of marijuana and your company culture.
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