Some employers require job candidates to take drug tests as part of the application process. How commonplace is this practice and can you, as an employee, refuse the drug test? By law, most employers do not have to require drug testing. There are certain industries, however, that will require drug testing, such the trucking companies and most federal and government jobs.
Why Do Employers Request Drug Tests?
An employer may have a variety of reasons for administering drug tests. Some have a strict, drug-free workplace policy. Needless to say, being under the influence of drugs violates OSHA as well as many state safety occupational laws, and may also be illegal.
Here are some of the main reasons employers require drug tests:
- Allows employees workers’ compensation discounts, particularly if employees remain drug-free
- Prevents employers from being held legally liable for accidents on the job. An employer can be held responsible for employees who cause harm to others or become injured due to being under the influence.
- Studies show that drug-free work environments are much more productive, and can save money in the long run.
How do you know, however, when an employer is overstepping the boundaries in forcing an employee or an applicant to take a drug test? There are some schools of thought that debate on whether or not drug testing is a violation of privacy rights. This is because a drug test does not only check what is currently in the person’s blood system, but also any trace amounts in the immediate past.
It is for this reason that many state and federal laws limit how employers can conduct the tests, in what context, and the frequency. This means that an employer cannot legally require drug tests from applicants, although you should note that this may be a prerequisite for the job position.
Contact Polaris Law Group!
Our Hollister employment law attorney can assist you if you believe your rights were violated at any time, either as an employee or a prospective candidate. Bill Marder is a seasoned lawyer with more than 20 years of experience.
Call the firm today at (888) 796-4010 to schedule a consultation.