Everything You Need To Know About Federal Drug Testing Laws


Everything You Need To Know About Federal Drug Testing Laws

One of the most prominent issues that employers face across a multitude of industries is knowing how to deal with drug testing, and understanding if it is actually an invasion of employee privacy. Despite all else, the implementation of workplace drug-testing policies has time and time again been proven to help prevent substance abuse before it starts, identify any individuals who may need treatment help, and reduce the comprehensive number of work-related accidents that occur due to illegal drug use. Read on for a high-level and detailed overview of everything you need to know about federal drug testing laws.

The Legality of Pre-Employment Drug Testing

Federal, state, and private employees are all possibly subject to drug testing. While The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that drug testing can infringe upon an individual’s privacy, it is all the while necessary for the general welfare, health, and safety of others. As long as the process remains private and minimally intrusive, drug testing is not considered harmful to applicants or potential employees.

However, if business owners or managers desire to give employees pre-employment drug tests, the testing needs to be done right. A drug-testing policy has to be fair, in that it applies to all the job applicants and not just a select few. The policy also must account for privacy during specimen collection to be considered legal and permissible for an individual’s rights.

Who Is Required To Drug Test

First off, it is vital to understand that not all businesses are required by law to drug test their employees or implement a strict drug-free workplace policy on a nationwide federal level, and the regulation of drug testing varies. You may not be aware of everything you need to know about federal drug testing laws because many state or local laws implement their own body of laws.

The Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988

On a government level, private businesses may or may not choose their own policies, but federal agencies are required to drug test due to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988. This major legislation accounts for the general use of drugs and alcohol in the workplace, which states that any employer that receives federal grants or contracts must be a drug-free workplace, or it could lose its federal funding.

Additionally, those whose job positions are safety-sensitive will have employers with set drug-testing plans already in place. These plans were created in order for the protection of those who are either in roles of national security or public safety. Such agencies include the Department of Defense (DOD), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and the Department of Transportation (DOT).

In recognition of the importance of health and safety in the transportation industry, Congress passed a crucial legislation act in the 1990s to ensure a drug and alcohol-free industry. The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act requires any DOT agencies to test their safety-sensitive transportation employees for drugs and alcohol in order to maintain safety for Americans nationwide during their travels.

State Laws Vs. Federal Laws

From the beginning of this current year of 2020, several states have set in place new laws that have developed in regard to the legal use of medical marijuana. These laws may constitute marijuana as a “lawful product” but vary in application. It’s best to research these laws separately.

While federal laws simply mandate specific agencies and industries, there are general state laws which readily provide guidelines to help employers set policies that regard the use of drugs and alcohol in their local work environment. In fact, many states have individually implemented their own set of regulations and standards to ensure drug-free work environments that are in either public or private sectors.

With these laws, employers are allowed to prohibit drug and alcohol use and utilize pre-employment drug testing. In typical cases, drug testing is not conducted unless an applicant is formally offered the position they applied and interviewed for. Under some state laws, employers can remove any employees who use illicit drugs from their workplace. Nonetheless, it’s critical to note that employees with substance abuse can be protected by laws on federal and state levels that regulate both discrimination and disabilities.

The major legislation that does just this is the Americans With Disabilities Act. The ADA states that an employer cannot discriminate against any applicants or employees that are qualified for a job because of a disability. Under the ADA, businesses are permitted to enforce a drug and alcohol free-workplace, but discriminating against any recovering drug or alcohol users is illegal. As follows, refusal to hire or promote an individual who has a history of substance abuse, or one who is in a rehabilitation program, is against the law.

Constituting Reasonable Suspicion

A majority of states in America generally grant employers the right to test any employees for drugs if they have reasonable suspicion that those employees are under the influence. This standard is truly a slippery legal slope. Over time, some state courts have initiated new guidelines to be set to ensure that an employer’s suspicion is truly within a reasonable range. These guidelines include direct observance of drug use or clear manifestation of its physical symptoms, such as loss of coordination, an inappropriate demeanor, or slurred speech.

Legislation that relates to the term “reasonable suspicion” is the well-known Civil Rights Act. Under this legislation, U.S. employers are required by law to not discriminate against any employee on the basis of their race, sex, nationality, or religion. Hence, this act is direct protection for workers against any unjust or prejudice drug testing requirements based on their specific race or gender.

The Limits To Drug Testing

Employers can face various legal difficulties if their business chooses to drug test only a select group of people. All applicants and employees must be treated in a similar manner and tested fairly with the same tests and standards. The majority of state regulations tend to limit the type of drug tests that can be utilized for screening purposes as well. The most common testing method is urine, but saliva, blood, and hair strand tests are occasionally utilized; what matters most is the consistency of the screening method rather than the method itself.

Out of the extensive scope of drug test manufacturers, American Screening Corporation is a top distributor of high-quality drug testing supplies. We stand out from our competitors with our exceptional customer service, both nationwide and around the world. Contact us today for further information about our wide range of testing options for a variety of illicit substances. We’re ready to evaluate your specific needs and provide testing products that meet your personal requirements.
Everything You Need To Know About Federal Drug Testing Laws


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