Employment Drug Screening

Employment drug screening is completely optional for an employer. There are however some things you may want to consider before you decide on your policy no matter if you hire an employee screening service or outsource your pre-employment drug testing, because your policy will dictate among other things, if, when and who gets tested including new employees.

Who Gets Tested

To be safe it probably has to be every candidate. You should have a workplace drug policy that backs up the testing of candidates.

When To Test

Once you decide to make an offer to a candidate then, like taking a physical, you make the offer contingent on passing the drug test. Never give a candidate too much time to get into the clinic. Make the offer contingent on getting to the employee screening service or clinic and passing the test within a reasonable time frame like 24 to 48 hours. If there is any hesitation or stall, it could be a sign of a problem.

Test Administration

There are do it yourself drug test kits. The up side is they are relatively cheap and you get the results almost instantly. There are however a number of downsides. Here are some things you may want to consider before trying it yourself.

  • What is the reliability of your test?
  • What is your process if there is a positive test? (There are such things as false positives.)
  • What steps do you take to insure a test sample is from the candidate? (Usually a quick temperature check will determine if the sample is 'fresh' or not.)
  • Finally, it is kind of messy and do you really want to have your HR person fooling around with urine samples?

I'll leave the decision to you but I think you know where I stand on this...

Outsourcing Your Drug Test

Most occupational clinics these days will do a pre employment drug screen for less than $30. As an employer it would be good to have a designated occupational health clinic in case an employee gets hurt.


Tip - Often if you sign up with one of these clinics they will give you special pricing on a drug screen.


Finally these occupational health clinics are well versed in the procedures and issues noted above. You usually have your results in less than 24 hours and if there are any questions, they already have testing labs they outsource to in case of a false positive.

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