Pre-Employment Drug Testing

Definition - What does Pre-Employment Drug Testing mean?

Pre-employment drug testing is a standard clinical procedure that entails the collection and analysis of a blood, hair, saliva (oral), urine or sweat specimen to determine drug and/or alcohol use. Employers generally have exclusive authority to conduct pre-employment drug screens that largely conform to state law regulations. Provisions often reflect the industrial circumstances linked to necessary job requirements. For instance, the transportation industry maintains strict guidelines for pre-employment drug testing procedures for safety-sensitive positions.

WorkplaceTesting explains Pre-Employment Drug Testing

Many employers use pre-employment drug tests as a benchmark for determining the right candidate for a job, adhering to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 that prohibits drug and alcohol use. However, employers rely on their own discretion to exercise sound judgment during the hiring process against multifaceted legal aspects where liability risks are a major factor. For instance, companies are required to follow impartial drug testing protocol, not basing their decision on characteristics such as physical appearance or personality. Furthermore, while the United States Supreme Court deem blood collection and urine collection acceptable testing methods, invasion of privacy remains a contingency for violation of individual rights.

In many cases, employers can override this rule if there is grounds of reasonable suspicion that applicants and/or employees have, for example, adulterated or tampered with a urine specimen. Other scenarios can involve individuals who take prescribed medications for legitimate health purposes in which drug screens can indicate positive test results. A second test is usually conducted to support the original findings especially if a discrepancy exists with the applicant and/or employee questioning the initial test results.

Different lines of work and state laws deem pre-employment drug tests as a mandatory statute prior to hiring and/or during employment status. Employers are obligated to incorporate pre-employment drug tests as an all-inclusive clause in their health and safety policy. This approach avoids potential discrimination lawsuits when considering candidates for hire or rehire positions.

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