Drug Testing, Employment and You

If you’re looking for a new job, then chances are you’ve heard about the employer drug test. Most employers only drug test as the final hurdle after an offer of employment has been made. Some employers in other industries demand random on the job drug testing when safety and security are paramount.

There are several kinds of drug tests. The most common is the urine test, which checks for recent drug use. Other kinds of testing, such as hair testing, reveals drug use that occurred in the more distant past.

Why Do Employers Drug Test?

“Most private employers are not required to test for alcohol or drug use,” according to Nolo. Nevertheless, a diverse variety of businesses — including financial institutions, healthcare providers and media companies — might.

In addition, if you plan to work for a federal, state or local government, drug testing may be mandatory. Aviation, mass transit and other transportation businesses are usually required to test. Just secured a government contract? Then drug testing is likely to be in your future, too.

Many jobs require on the job drug testing. That means you may have to pass a drug screen to secure and maintain employment. Employers often conduct on the job testing at random intervals. How often you must test for drug use depends on the conditions of your employment contract.

Why Drug Testing Is Necessary

When a business hires an employee, it assumes a certain amount of risk. You agree to work in good faith for your employer in exchange for wages and often benefits. That means your employer assumes you won’t do anything to damage its reputation, and you trust it to pay you wages for the agreed-upon terms.

Drug testing protects employers in other ways, too. Certain necessary business expenses, such as workers’ compensation and insurance, cost less when drug testing is a company policy. This is because substance abuse costs employers billions of dollars every year. If you abuse drugs or alcohol, you are more likely to have a workplace accident and be late to work.

Can I Refuse a Drug Test?

In general, if you are asked to take a drug test as a condition of employment, you should plan on complying. Although you are not required to take a drug test, the employer can rescind an offer of employment should you refuse — or if you take it and test positive.

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