Substance Abuse Screening

Drug Testing in the Workplace: FAQs


We’ve been covering a lot substance abuse and drug testing topics over the last few weeks here at EmployeeScreenIQ. Below are the most frequently asked questions we received throughout our coverage and from our most recent webinar, “You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers: The NEW Basics of Background Screening.”

What are the different types of drug tests?
Urine is the most common specimen for drug screening. Per Quest Diagnostics, urine drug testing detects recent drug use and is the only testing method approved for federally-mandated testing. Businesses rely on laboratory-based urine testing for its cost-effectiveness, capacity to screen for a variety of different illicit drugs and ability to withstand most legal challenges.

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Marijuana Legalization: It’s High Time for Employers to Review Drug Testing Policies


Earlier this year, the headline of a Washington Post editorial declared, “Pot is increasingly legal. Employers need to stop screening for it.”

While the first statement is undeniably true, it’s no reason for you to stop testing employees and applicants for marijuana—even if you are in a state that has legalized medical marijuana or recreational use of the drug.

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The State of Marijuana


With the marijuana legalization trend showing no signs of slowing, many employers are finding themselves in a position where they don’t know how to respond to the new laws. Today, 23 states and Washington D.C., have legalized marijuana in some form, with Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Washington D.C. legalizing recreational use. 25 million Americans have admitted to using marijuana in the past year, while 14 million said they use marijuana regularly.

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Legal or Not, Employers Concerned About Marijuana Use

Trends in Employment Background Checks

For the sixth consecutive year, EmployeeScreenIQ surveyed U.S.-based employers regarding their use of employee background checks. As with our previous surveys, the 2015 survey was designed to provide a reliable snapshot of:

    How employers currently utilize background checks. How they respond to adverse findings on background checks. Their paramount screening-related concerns. And their practices concerning Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) responsibilities, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidance, and evolving ban the box legislation.

Today, I’d like to share our findings on employers’ attitudes about how their hiring practices might change if recreational marijuana were to become legal throughout the United States.

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4 Reasons for Employers to Fall in Love with Drug Testing All Over Again

Drug Test

Raise your hand if you remember having to give prospective employees a paper chain of custody form to conduct a drug test, locating the nearest collection center, hoping your candidate showed up to the right place in a reasonable amount of time and prayed the your drug testing lab didn’t lose the sample in transit.

Ahh, the good old days of substance abuse screening.  Thanks to major advances in drug screening technology, times have changed- and rather quickly. The process has become much more efficient for employers and candidates and even better at making sure that nothing slips through the cracks.

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Drugs and the Workplace: An Expensive Problem


$81 billion. That’s how much the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc. (NCADD) says drug abuse costs employers annually. This staggering number covers lost productivity, absenteeism, injuries, fatalities, theft and low employee morale, to an increase in health care, legal liabilities and workers’ compensation costs.

In addition, NCADD reports that drug abuse can cause problems at work including:

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Colorado Supreme Court Upholds Firing of Medical Marijuana User


Lately, when it comes to substance abuse screening, the first question employers always ask us is whether it’s legal to deny employment or fire someone who tests positive for drugs even though they have a prescription for medical marijuana in a state where pot smoking is legal. Thanks to a unanimous 6-0 decision by a Colorado court the answer appears to be, yes.

As you probably know, the state of Colorado has legalized the use of marijuana, both for medical and recreational purposes. However, the state also allows employers to establish their own drug-testing policies.

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Is the Technology Industry a Willing Participant in Drug Culture?

Drug Testing Employment Background Checks

By now, many of you are familiar with the Google executive that was killed on his yacht last year by a call girl that injected with a fatal dose of heroin. In the aftermath of this startling case, the San Jose Mercury News started digging into what it calls Silicon Valley’s “drug culture”.

Specifically, they assert that there is an increasing propensity for those in the technology space to abuse illegal and prescription drugs to cope with the breakneck pace of work that the sector demands.  And to make matters worse, they allege that employers are turning a blind eye to the problem by not drug testing employees as part of their employment background screening process.

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Why Black Workers Should Celebrate Employment Drug Testing

Drug Testing, Employment Background Checks

Earlier this week, I read an interesting study on employers’ use of substance abuse tests as a hiring tool and how they impact minorities. According to the study conducted by Notre Dame labor economist, Abigail Wozniak, in states where testing is prevalent due to supportive laws, black employment increased between 7% and 30%, and wages for black workers increased by between 1.4% and 13%. Bluntly, this means that fewer minorities, in this case African-Americans failed drug tests and as a result were hired at an increased rate than if they hadn’t been tested. (more…)

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The 411 on 420: Marijuana, Drug Testing, and the Workplace

Substance Abuse Screening

Can you fire someone for testing positive for marijuana in the workplace? With pot dispensaries outnumbering Starbucks in cities like Denver, and websites like weedmaps popping up on the web, it’s a legitimate question. Maintaining a drug free workplace has been somewhat complicated by the legalization of marijuana (aka cannabis, or just plain old “pot”) in the states. Legalization and or de-criminalization of marijuana is a growing trend. The federal government has stepped back from enforcement of marijuana offenses, in part because of the actions of the states.  All of this leaves some employers scratching their heads—wondering, when it comes to pot, what’s legal and what’s not?


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