Many employers conduct random drug testing among its employees, but many such tests have undergone controversy for one reason or another. Employers fight for their right to test their workers at random for drug use, but some employees question its morality, saying random drug tests are not so random at all. Some employees feel they have been targeted for drug testing, and have even filed complaints for discrimination.
With drug testing being a tricky subject, employers are advised to administer the random drug and alcohol testing process as properly as they can make it. After all, a random drug and alcohol testing policy is only effective if it meets best practices and fully complies with regulatory standards. Here are some tips on how to properly conduct random drug testing.
Make the selection truly random
As previously mentioned, much of the opposition to random drug testing centres on the fact that in most cases, the selection isn’t truly random. A random drug and alcohol screening test will only be truly random if employers use a random generator that is statistically valid. By using a random generator, employees can be sure that every single one of them shares the same degree of probability to be picked for a random drug and alcohol test. If the drug test has several screenings and an employee has already been picked by the generator for the previous two rounds, such employee should still be included in round three with the same probability of being selected as everyone else.
The time between notification and testing should be limited
Employees who are actually drug users probably have prepared tricks up their sleeve should they be picked for a random drug test. The crucial element here is the time between notification of the drug test to the actual testing. If that employee is given advance notice or if the drug testing schedule is predictable, it’s possible that he or she will be taking measures to avoid testing positive for drugs, and these measures—many dubious though—do exist. Ideally, the time between notification and testing should be as limited as possible. Should an employee fail to get tested within that time frame, employers can consider it as refusal to get tested on his or her part.
Observe clinic hours and policies
Every testing clinic has set hours and policies in place, and it’s important that you know and observe them to the letter. It wouldn’t do any good if the clinic closes at 6pm and you send over an employee at a quarter to six. The test results could be compromised if you’re not familiar with the hours and policies.
Follow State regulations
Drug testing laws tend to vary from state to state, so it pays to be familiar with those regulations as you draft your drug and alcohol testing policies. Some states may allow one type of testing, others may not. Your business should always meet the specific standards of the regulating authority, not only to be compliant with state random drug and alcohol testing regulations, but to avoid costly fines as well.
Everything should be properly documented
It is in your best interest to document the entire random drug and alcohol testing notification and screening process. With clear documentation, you will have the records necessary to protect yourself in case of an audit or if an employee files a complaint. So if an employee sues about being chosen several times for random alcohol and drug screening, you can show your records that will attest that the employee was totally selected at random. A proper documentation of the whole process will help you prove that the selection was statistically valid and was done fairly.
There will always be safety, legal, and compliance risks associated with workplace drug use. However, if you follow the tips above, you can manage them better.