Random Testing

Definition - What does Random Testing mean?

Random testing is testing conducted on employees that are selected at random, without any pre-set criteria or suspicions. To conduct random testing, a pool of candidates is designated for testing. Then a set number of candidates are selected from that pool using a neutral process. Often a computer program is used to select names to prevent human bias or error from entering into the process. Random testing is sometimes used in the workplace to monitor employee compliance with workplace drug and alcohol policies.

WorkplaceTesting explains Random Testing

The purpose of random testing is to ensure that testing requirements are administered without bias. When test subject selection is random, each person in the pool of possible candidates has an equal chance of being selected each time the test is conducted. Random drug and alcohol tests are usually conducted without advance notice to ensure that no test subject can accurately predict when they will be called for testing. Test subjects are not notified in advance of testing to encourage them to remain compliant with workplace drug and alcohol policies at all times. This lack of notice is also designed to prevent an employee from taking actions to avoid the test or manipulate the outcome. Some state laws and city ordinances prohibit random drug or alcohol testing except under limited circumstances. Employers may also be limited in their application of random drug and alcohol testing by union agreements or other contracts. The implementation of random alcohol testing may be limited by the Americans with Disabilities Act.

On the other hand, federal Department of Transportation (DOT) guidelines require random testing for safety-sensitive employees in the transportation industry. Each agency within the DOT designated specific “covered employees” in safety-sensitive positions who must be tested. These covered employees are then tested in compliance with the DOT’s guidelines. In part, these rules provide that covered employees must be subject to selection for random testing at throughout the year to prevent employees from predicting a specific time frame in which testing might occur. In addition, the selection process used must be scientifically valid and equally applied to all covered employees. For employers subject to DOT regulations, a Designated Employer Representative (DER) must oversee the drug and alcohol testing program.

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