To Test, or Not to Test? That is the (Employment) Question

And it’s a really important one.

Research presented at the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2015 Employment Law & Legislative Conference shows that:

  • Nearly 10 percent of Americans smoke marijuana before they go to work.
  • Approximately 14 million people (roughly 10 percent of the U.S. workforce) abuse alcohol and/or drugs.
  • The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that abuse costs employers between $75 billion and $100 billion each year.

As our nation begins legalizing recreational drugs like marijuana for personal use, more people are pushing for the abolishment of workplace drug testing. But as you know, drug abusers have higher absenteeism rates, are less productive and increase the risk of workplace accidents.

Should you test your employees for drug usage or not?

The truth is, only you can decide. But before you do, consider the pros and cons of workplace drug tests:

The advantages:

  • Testing can increase productivity and attendance, by deterring drug usage.
  • Once identified, drug abusers can get the help they need.
  • Eliminating drug users increases workplace safety, prevents accidents and reduces both theft and workplace violence.
  • Testing minimizes your liability and reputational risks as an employer.

The disadvantages:

  • Negative psychological impact on employees. If your employees are against drug testing, it creates an “us versus them” mentality, which can leave employees feeling as though their personal rights and privacy have been violated.
  • Testing inaccuracies. Workplace drug tests are not full-proof, and false positives do occur. But once an employee has been mislabeled as a drug user, the damage done to his professional reputation may be irreversible.
  • Increased expense. The most reliable drug testing kits are extremely expensive and typically do not have a long shelf-life.
  • Liability from negative test results. If you test an employee and find out that he is not under the influence of an illegal substance, you run the risk of having that employee file a lawsuit for false accusation and/or libel.

Hire Smarter with PrideStaff

Minimize your company’s risks and increase applicant quality by allowing us to manage part or all of your screening process.  As experts in pre-employment screening, PrideStaff can:

  • increase workplace safety (by uncovering criminal history before candidates are hired);
  • ensure nondiscriminatory hiring practices are followed;
  • reduce the risks of negligent hiring suits;
  • conduct additional pre-employment screening, including drug screens and skills testing, to ensure the right candidates are hired the first time.