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Pre-Hiring Drug Tests

Our company has always used drug tests when hiring new employees. However, we recently had an potential employee refuse to take a drug test in our Arkansas branch. Is it legal to refuse to hire her simply because she failed to take the test?

Yes. When hiring for your company, you are entirely within your right to take into consideration your potential employee health issues so that you can also assess the potential productivity and burden that the employee might have on the company. Many companies overlook employee health considerations because they want to believe that they are being fair in their hiring processes and open to all. They also have concerns about discrimination that might be involved with an employee-related health or drug screening. If you end up hiring an employee that is a user, you will not only likely see a decline in productivity, but her health insurance might be higher, and she may have more absenteeism.

Keep in mind that once a person is on your payroll, if they have or if they develop a drug problem, their substance abuse issues will be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. In such a situation, there is very little that you can do to terminate the employee fairly…unless you have other cause to terminate the employee.

During the application process, it is important that you inform your employees in writing of the drug testing requirement. Have the information in the hiring packet or simply on a sheet of paper. Let your employees know that the test will be conducted by one company, but if the results come back positive, they will be tested a second time by a different company. Also, the employees and potential employees should be aware that the results are completely confidential.

There is a major controversy surrounding drug testing by companies involves drug testing of present employees. Some companies do drug testing at random, which many employees feel violates their personal rights. If your company not only drug test prior to hiring, but also after an employee has been brought on board, then it is important that the employees are made aware of the testing.

Note: Drugs tests are not legal in some states.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 10th, 2007 at 2:28 pm and is filed under
Hiring and Staffing, Human Resources Management, Labor Laws.
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