It is essential to start by saying that pre-employment prescription drug screening is an action in which employers take to determine whether employeesare using or abusing prescription drugs that are not legal and should be under professional supervision.
Once they get an evidence of prescription drug abuse, as well as illicit drugs and alcohol, then the applicant will be removed from the company based on the written policy which is share with all potential and current employees.
It is vital to make an employer’s policy because that way employee will be able to educate themselves about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, which can interfere with production and safety of others.
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If you wish to submit your applicants to pre-employment drug testing, screening for illicit drugs is one thing, but what happens if the test shows positive results for prescription drugs? What can you do with it?
Since the abuse of prescription, drugs have reached epidemic levels, it is vital to understand their side effects and whether they can affect and affect safety and productivity issues.
It is reasonable to test your employees, but some laws will provide you with insights on when and how you should administer them and for what reasons.
The growing trend is that people are abusing recreationally prescription pills, but still, some states are allowing the use of medicinal marijuana and prescription medications. The question is whether you can be fired if you are using prescription pills under doctor’s supervision.
What, when and how
In overall, you will be able to test applicants as well as employees for drug abuse. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, drug testing does notinfringe privacy, and the primary interest should be protecting both the safety and health of other workers.
According to law, even President can be subjected to drug testing in case of reasonable doubt, but to let you understand this particular idea, we have to break it down by stages of employment and by assessing different situations that will help you know everything about prescription drug testing.
Pre-Employment Prescription Drug Testing
You will be able to test applicants for drugs especially if they are after conditional job offer. You will be able to do it without reasonable suspicion of whether they are using or not. However, if you choose to do it, you cannot single out one particular applicant or employee, which means everyone or none.
You are allowed to do that only if candidates are applying for safety-sensitive assignments and jobs. At the same time, if someone has specific medical condition, he/she cannot be qualified to perform specific types of situations.
That is a narrow exception of course, and the best practice requires from you to screen your applicant after offering the job.
Under ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and ADAAA (Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act), you cannot conduct pre-employment drug testing because it is illegal to discriminate candidates for their disabilities.
In case your drug test shows that someone is using legally prescribed medications for a specific condition that is treated under ADA as a disability, and you reject an applicant, you will be in trouble.
In that particular case, you will have difficulties proving that this specific decision was no basis for the rejection. On the other hand, tests solely for checking the presence of illegal substances such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana, are not treated under ADA.
That means that you will be able to decline a job offer if you find out that applicant is positive on certain illegal drugs.
Click here if you wish to learn more about ADA and its regulations.
You Should Keep Up With laws
Apart from these considerations, you should also check the laws of your state you operate in and employ people. Have in mind that different states feature different requirements, and some states will require from you to extend the job offer before you conduct a drug screening.
Others will require from you to inform potential candidates in writing before you decide to conduct a drug testing of any kind. The primary interest is to ask your applicant to sign consent before the application, which is a common practice even if the state does not regulate it.
Another general thing that you should learn is when it comes to prescription medication because most testingsare done through urinalysis and urine sample. You will not be able to require the candidate to urinate in the presence of another person.
Since most courts have ruled that such requirement is invasion of privacy, even if you think that candidate will tamper with the specimen, you cannot ask someone to stay next to the applicant.
However, you will be able to tell someone to listen whether the candidate is urinating or looking into other options. It is vital to find a loophole that will help you avoid intrusion of privacy.
What about Prescription Drugs?
As you can see from everything, we have mentioned above; it is one thing to test positive for illegal substances. However, most employers are with reason concerned about abusing prescription drugs. This particular situation can be sticky, because today, millions of people are using prescription medication.
In case those drugs don’t pose a risk for individual’s ability to performs the job safely, you will not be able to rejects a candidate and terminate the contract due to use of legal medications, because that is ADA violation.
Therefore, you should have Medical Review Officer that will review test results, and in case someone shows positive for prescription pills, MRO can contact the applicant for explanation and proof that legal prescription is relevant and consumed under doctor’s supervision.
If the candidate provides acceptable proof, than MRO will note safety concerns and according to final report, you can determine whether the candidate is viable to work under a specific condition of the job he applied to. That will provide you with peace of mind when it comes to workplace safety concerns.