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  • Jody McLeod

Employment Practices Update Volume 2, Drug Testing: Should my business still use it?

As described in my recently published Employment Practices Update Volume 1 (implementation of a remote work policy), businesses need to continue their yearly assessment of the employment practices they use.

You've reviewed remote work and how your business intends to utilize it, now examine your drug testing policy. Conduct this review whether your policy tests pre-employment, randomly, post-accident, or based on reasonable suspicion and then ask yourself if your policy still fits your business needs or it is time for a refresh?

Employers are required to provide both a safe work environment for their employees and one that also contributes to their productivity. Couple this requirement with the current culture: a documented increase in drug use within society, many states legalizing marijuana use to some extent (33 states allow for its use medically and 11 allow for its use recreationally), and one state (Oregon), recently passing legislation decriminalizing hard drugs altogether. The intersection of all of these factors makes the re-assessment of your drug policy more important and immediate.


  • What are your business needs and goals and have they changed?

  • Can a drug test, current model or other, help you achieve your goals?

  • What are your analytics from the assessment of your drug program data previously and when they are weighed against your goals, what does it reveal?

  • What were your incurred costs for drug testing and was there an identifiable return on investment?

  • Has there been any negative impact on your attraction to talent or have you identified negative candidate/employee experiences because of the drug test's impersonal process?

  • Is your business one that highly values risk mitigation in its work facilities and, as a result, implemented a drug-free workplace program with drug testing* being a major tool?

Once your 5-step assessment is completed, you may decide to implement a different program model for your business (go from pre-employment to random or reasonable suspicion) or implement different programs based on positions, safety concern, or locale or, you may decide to discontinue the practice altogether because it no longer helps you meet your goals. Whatever your determination is for your business, this refresh will keep you on track toward meeting those identified goals.

* drug testing has been shown to be effective in preventing accidents, absenteeism, litigation, and the overall morale of the workforce.

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