Posted in drug screening, drug testing
A federal court in Maryland ruled recently that the state’s drug and alcohol testing statute prohibits private employers from conducting breath alcohol tests on its employees.
As employees of Vector Security, Inc., Wendell Whye and William Trout underwent periodic, random breath alcohol testing, pursuant to the Company’s substance abuse policy. The tests, which were administered by third-party testing provider Concentra Health Services, Inc., required Plaintiffs “breathe deeply for several minutes [into a breath testing device] so as to produce alveolar or ‘deep lung’ breath for chemical analysis.” The breath samples were not preserved and, in the event of a positive test result, could not be later retested for accuracy.
While neither employee tested positive for alcohol, nor did Vector ever take disciplinary action against them based on test results, Whye and Trout filed suit against Concentra on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated, alleging the breath alcohol tests were illegal under Maryland law. Conceding that Maryland’s testing statute does not provide a private right of action, the Plaintiffs alleged common law claims for invasion of privacy and fraud.
Full Story: Federal court holds breath testing for alcohol is illegal in Maryland
Posted in drug screening, drug testing, drug testing policy
When it comes to the safety of your workplace and the employees that work with you, it’s vital to have a drug testing program in place. Judging by the fact that there are 23.9 million Americans that currently use drugs, there’s simply no room for risk.
If you’re considering starting a drug testing program at your workplace, you should be aware of the fact that there are a few key mistakes that many employers make.
Fundamentally, you must follow certain guidelines to ensure that everything is done legally. And with that in mind, here are three key mistakes to avoid:
Mistake #1 – Not having a formal policy
Many employers want to implement drug testing, but they fail to ensure that they have a written policy in effect that is in compliance with state laws and regulations. There are many laws and regulations that have been put into effect by local, state and federal government, so have your policy written and double checked to ensure compliance.
Mistake #2 – Not having a DER
You should have a trained designated employer representative, or DER, to administer your drug testing program. Or a professional screening service. Many times, employers jump the gun and start drug testing without first considering the fact that they need to train and authorize a specified employee to handle the drug testing program.
By mandating a training course for your designated employer representative and talking with a screening firm, you can avoid any issues that may arise.
Mistake #3 – Forgetting about confidentiality
Drug testing requires a certain level of confidentiality, and employers need to ensure never to breach this confidentiality for any reason. It would be a lawsuit waiting to happen.
If an employee fails a drug test, it’s not information that can be shared with everyone in the workplace. There are confidentiality laws and regulations in effect for a reason, and employers must follow them.
As you can see, there are various mistakes that can occur with a drug testing program, especially if your company has never required drug testing in the past. Don’t just jump straight into it without first being aware of all of the laws and regulations.
The best way to make sure you stay on track? Get in touch with a professional screening company. The experience, credibility and knowledge that they can bring to the table will ensure you avoid any mistakes, or worse – a lawsuit. Contact us today for more information.
Posted in drug screening, drug testing, employee drug screening
There are various different types of drug testing options and services available, but the 9-panel drug test is one of the more comprehensive and well known options. When conducting a drug test, some of the other tests that will only check for a few different types of drugs, and – of course – you want to be as thorough as possible.
With the newest reports showing that 23.9 million Americans use drugs, there is clearly a growing need for drug testing – and that’s where we can help.
How the 9-panel drug test works
Most 9-panel drug tests are urine analysis kits that let you see whether someone has drugs in their system or not. A urinalysis is one of the best ways to conduct a drug screen, because it’s usually very accurate. Some of the other testing methods, such as the cheek swab, are simply not as reliable
Additionally, most of the drug urinalysis tests will have simple, easy to read results and you can also send them off to a laboratory for further analysis.
Types of drugs tested
A 9-panel drug test tests for the following types of drugs:
These are all common types of drugs that are abused regularly.
Why consider a 9-panel drug test on your employees?
There are a variety of reasons that you should consider requesting employees at your workplace participate in a 9-panel drug test. First and foremost, you will find that people abuse a wide range of drugs. While marijuana is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the US, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t test for other drugs. When it comes down to it, this test really covers all of your bases.
And as mentioned previously, drug use is currently a huge issue in America, and no employer should risk the consequences of making a bad hire.
If you’re looking for further assistance or have any questions, contact us today. We can help you with all of your drug testing needs. Our turnaround times are among the best in the industry, and we offer competitive prices that will meet your budgeting needs.
Posted in drug screening, drug test
The latest edition of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health was released last month, and provides a valuable insight into how prominent and consequential drug use in American workplaces may be. This annual report provides a comprehensive look at the current state of substance abuse by surveying approximately 70,000 people throughout the country.
The report contains information on the use of illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco in the civilian, non-institutionalized population of the United States aged 12 years old or older.
The survey found that an estimated 23.9 million Americans – 9.2 percent of the population – had used an illicit drug during the month prior to the survey interview. This represented increase from the 22.2 million (8.5 percent) last surveyed. Illicit drugs include marijuana/hashish, cocaine (including crack), heroin, hallucinogens, inhalants or prescription-type psychotherapeutics (pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants and sedatives) used non-medically.
How does this affect you?
When you consider that roughly 65% of these drug users are judged to be currently employed, there is a clear issue to be considered by an employer. This workplace drug and alcohol use costs U.S. businesses an estimated $100 billion each year – don’t let your business become a statistic by putting your head in the sand when it comes to screening employees.
It can be a complex and time consuming process to try and perform this type of staff testing internally. Not to mention the liability risks companies face if they choose an internal path. For those reasons, it’s always a good idea to talk to a pre-employment screening service before getting started.
Contact our team today for more information on how to protect your business.
Posted in drug screening, drug testing
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) last week signed into law a bill, House Bill 2388, that requires welfare applicants to be screened for possible drug use and drug tested upon suspicion they are using.
The screening requirement is designed to surmount constitutional objections to mandatory, suspicionless drug testing of public benefits applicants and recipients.
Several other states have passed public benefits drug testing laws with a screening process to create “reasonable suspicion” that a given individual might be a drug user, while others have have passed laws requiring mandatory, suspicionless drug testing of welfare applicants. Such laws have been received with various degrees of enthusiasm by citizens.
The Oklahoma law takes effect November 1 and is aimed at adults applying for the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. Applicants who refuse to take the drug test or who test positive will be denied benefits. Applicants who test positive and then undergo a drug treatment program — at their own expense — can reapply for benefits after six months.
“House Bill 2388 will help ensure welfare checks are not being used to pay for drugs. Hard working taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to subsidize drug abuse, and this bill will help to ensure they are not,” Fallin said in a signing statement.
“Additionally, HB 2388 helps to preserve the mission of state-funded welfare — to provide a social safety net helping the unemployed and needy get back on their feet, find work and support their families,” the Republican governor continued. “Unfortunately, drug abuse prevents many recipients of welfare from achieving any of these goals. Drug addiction and illegal drug use contribute to child abuse and child neglect. They also make it difficult to find and hold a job. For all these reasons it is important for drug users and those with substance abuse problems to seek treatment rather than simply being handed a check from Oklahoma taxpayers.”
Posted in drug screening, drug testing
The United States Department of Labor estimated in 2005 that of the 17.2 million drug abusers in the US, 12.9 million were employed either full or part time. In addition, 10 to 20% of workers who died on the job tested positive for alcohol or other drugs.
And according to statistics on drug abuse by American workers, workplace drug and alcohol use costs U.S. businesses an estimated $100 billion each year, with average costs of a bad hire may equal 30% of the first year’s potential earnings.
If you’re an employer who doesn’t yet perform drug screening on their employees, these types of stats should make you sit up and take notice. Put simply, drug screening for jobs at your workplace will ensure that your current employees, your clients and your future growth is protected from substance abusers and the risks they pose.
Why perform them?
There are four primary reasons as to why employers ought to perform background checks and drug screening: Federal and state requirements, protecting vulnerable parties, preventing negligent hiring, and protecting your company from future litigation.
Compared to the cost of even one employee with a substance abuse problem, most firms find eliminating the problem in the first place is well worth the time and money involved in a drug-testing program.
How to perform them?
Your best bet is to hire a professional pre-employment screening company to help perform drug screening, as there as many pitfalls that need to be avoided.
Most drug testing is done by sending an applicant to a collection site, where a urine sample is obtained and sent to a certified laboratory for analysis.
Learn more about the type of program that will work for you! Reach out to us today and we can help put together an drug screening program to suit your business.
Posted in drug screening, failing drug tests
According to a study by Quest Diagnostics, the rate of positive results for pre-employment urine screening increased by 5.7 percent since 2011.
“Employers are having some difficulty finding employees who can pass their drug tests,” said Dr. Barry Sample, director of science and technology for Quest.
Marijuana continues to be the drug most commonly used by American job seekers, according to the data. That said, only 2 percent of the 3.4 million urine tests analyzed from the first six months of 2012 came back positive for pot. Amphetamines, the second most prevalent drug, only showed up in 0.86 percent of cases.
While some employers are still on the fence with regards to drug testing, this latest information may make those against it rethink.
“Employers are going to have to take a hard look at their policies and decide if they want to do drug testing,” said Holli Hartman, counsel at BakerHostetler. “[Marijuana] is still an illegal drug on the federal level, but employers are still going to have a lot of discretion to decide what goes on in the workplace and also what their employees do outside of the workplace to some extent.”
Drug screening in your workplace
If you’re an employer questioning how to create a drug testing policy, this is where a pre-employment screening company can help. The ideal next step would be to get in touch with someone who provides these services, who can identify your needs and help create a program to suit you.
Any concerns or questions you have, from costs to types of testing, can be answered, and an employment screening service will be able to judge how a drug screening program can help your business progress.
Interested in learning more? Get in touch with us today and we can help you get started.
Posted in drug screening, welfare drug testing
According to NBC News, a new bill was moved forward that, if implemented, will require welfare applicants to submit to drug testing.
Senator Jane Nelson authorized the bill which has already been approved by the state senate’s Health and Human Services Committee. If passed by the full senate, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) applicants will be forced to undergo a drug screening process.
“Drug abuse destroys families, harms children and prevents individuals from living healthy, independent lives. Because TANF is a direct cash assistance program, we have a responsibility to ensure that these funds are not being used to support a person’s drug habit,” said Senator Nelson.
According to NBC, if the bill were enacted applicants who are suspected to be using or have been convicted of previous drug use will be subjected to drug testing.
Randy Collins, Orange County drug lawyer, has worked with several drug users and feels that the bill has the potential to be destructive. “Taking initiative to try and decrease drug use by welfare recipients is a concept that we fully support, but we do not agree with Senator Nelson’s course of action. Whether or not a mother and/or father are using drugs, if they are in a position that does not allow their children to receive aid for their basic needs there is a problem. Also, there is little clarification as to what type of drug use will result in the loss of government aid. Will Marijuana use keep families from receiving food and other necessities?” said Collins.
One hundred thousand Texans a year are enrolled in TANF, according to Nelson’s office. The bill will go to the Texas House of Representatives if it passes a vote in the full Senate.
Posted in drug screening, drug test, drugs in the workplace
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – The passage of Amendment 64 has left many employers in Colorado wondering where they stand with drug testing employees.
To help businesses understand the legalities, Mountain State Employers Council has developed a guideline for employers to help them develop policies about Amendment 64, something local Chamber of Commerce leaders say will be helpful for employers.
“We have a lot of employers who have a lot of questions about this because it’s not as clear cut as it with being under the influence of alcohol,” said Diane Schwenke, executive director of the chamber. “We know that if we were to have a certain level in your bloodstream of alcohol, you’re under the influence. We don’t have that same matrix to use with marijuana.”
Here are the MSEC’s four points to remember:
- An employer, whose supervisors are trained in reasonable suspicion of drug use and who require an employee to undergo a urinalysis, saliva or blood test after documenting signs and symptoms of drug use, will have a stronger chance of surviving a legal challenge if the employer terminates that employee. (This assumes that the worker tests positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol [THC], the active ingredient in marijuana).
- Colorado’s legal off-duty activities law (CLODA) prohibits employers from terminating employees for legal, off-duty conduct. Exceptions, however, are provided in law.
- If a worker is in a safety-sensitive occupation, employers may have a stronger legal basis to terminate employees who test positive for marijuana. A worker who is impaired through the use of marijuana in these occupations creates risk for the employer and other workers, which can fall under CLODA’s exceptions.
- CLODA refers only to employees, not to job applicants. Thus, pre-employment drug screening remains a lawful practice and may continue to be conducted by employers.
If you have any additional questions regarding drug testing employees, whether in Colorado or another state, contact us for assistance. We’ll be happy to help!
Posted in drug screening, welfare drug testing
A controversial bill in Texas that proposes drug screening for welfare recipients would only be fair if applied to all who receive taxpayer dollars – including elected officials, said Rep. Joe Deshotel (D-Beaumont).
The bill, filed last month by Sen. Jane Nelson (R-Flower Mound), would authorize the use of drug screening for recipients of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program and unemployment benefits, according to information on the governor’s website. Deshotel said he was disappointed that state leaders such as Perry, Nelson and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst were singling out poor families in supporting the bill.
“There is no evidence that poor people abuse drugs more frequently than any other socioeconomic group, therefore I challenge Senator Nelson, Governor Perry and Lt. Governor Dewhurst to support adding a drug test requirement to the application to run for state office in Texas,” he said in a news release.
Welfare drug testing
Welfare drug screening legislation would be a welcome addition for many, who are justified in claiming that anyone receiving welfare should not be an exception to the drug screening rules that many employed taxpayers are subjected to.
Nonetheless, there will also always be critics, particularly when it comes to such a controversial topic. Some critics suggest that drug testing welfare recipients is simply not a cost-effective measure and not a valid use of taxpayers dollars – with money saved being only a fraction of that which is spent on the tests. In addition, the ACLU argues drug testing is considered a search under the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which protects against unreasonable searches.
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