Category Archives: Workplace Testing

Medical Marijuana Workplace Testing

How Marijuana Legalization Affects Employers and Employees

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The legalization of marijuana has caused confusion as to how it could work best in the workplace setup. Marijuana legalization may have brought a sense of relief to both medical and recreational marijuana users. However, despite its legalization, employers are now facing issues regarding the policies of drug testing in the workplace.

The conundrum of legalizing cannabis and maintaining workplace safety has put business owners in a bind, finding themselves between crossroads on how to implement the workplace drug policies without having to deal with right-to-privacy issues regarding medical conditions of their employees.

On the other side of the fence, job applicants are now confused whether to submit themselves to the company’s drug testing policy or to decline the job. Should they agree to undergo drug testing and potentially be singled out as a drug user in case of a positive result?

Concerns with Marijuana Legalization

In this scenario, two major questions may be raised in relation to marijuana legalization:

  • Should there be a need to totally eradicate drug policies within the workplace?
  • How can employees be protected from potential termination or lawsuits?

Despite the advantages of marijuana legalization, this issue has become a burden on most employers. They need to come up with a solution about who to test, when to do the test, and if they should even implement drug testing in the workplace.

Lawmakers may have only focused on making marijuana legal to avoid prosecution of the users. However, it’s possible that they missed out on the aspect where the protection of the employers and employees should be considered. For employers, their main goal is to be able to sustain their respective businesses where their employees are able to work comfortably and safely, with high productivity.

No employer would tolerate drug use while working even if an employee is taking marijuana for medical purposes. Drug policies in the workplace were created to ensure that every employee is able to do his job and not to report to work under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.

More than 70 percent of illicit drug users belong to the workforce. This is quite an alarming number considering that drug use while on the job would affect more than just lost productivity, but also increased health insurance claims and even death.

States with Legal Medical Marijuana Use

Each state has its own provisions with regards to drug testing in the workplace. However, under the federal law, employees working in certain industries are required to undergo drug testing. Such industries include aviation, transportation, mining, construction and sports.

marijuana legalization in the U.S.

Marijuana legalization in the United States has taken so many years before it was finally implemented on several states. The latest vote in November 8, 2016 added more states that started to adapt the legalization of marijuana use. As of that date, more than half of U.S. states already allow medical marijuana use. These include:

State Year Passed
Alaska 1998
Arizona 2010
Arkansas 2016
California 1996
Colorado 2000
Connecticut 2012
Delaware 2011
Florida 2016
Hawaii 2000
Illinois 2013
Maine 1999
Maryland 2014
Massachusetts 2012
Michigan 2008
Minnesota 2014
Montana 2004
Nevada 2000
New Hampshire 2013
New Jersey 2010
New Mexico 2007
New York 2014
North Dakota 2016
Ohio 2016
Oregon 1998
Pennsylvania 2016
Rhode Island 2006
Vermont 2004
Washington 1998
Washington,DC 2010

Each state has its own provisions in implementing marijuana legalization.

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in Alaska, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada. These states allow adults aged 21 years and older to recreational use of marijuana but with provisions on the amount that they can use or buy, and can only purchase these through legitimate stores.

The state of California allows use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by individuals who have written recommendations by their physicians. Approved conditions to use medical marijuana include HIV/AIDS, arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma, migraine, muscular spasms, MS, and seizures. However, employers in California implement strict drug policies wherein they require employees to pass a drug test. Companies may decline employment to those who are found to be using marijuana even if it were for medical purposes.

Why Do Companies Implement Marijuana Drug Testing in the Workplace?

The reasons behind implementing drug testing procedures in line with marijuana legalization include the following:

  • To assure the safety for all employees
  • To save the company a lot of money from absenteeism and health insurance claims
  • To decrease crime within the workplace
  • To increase productivity
  • To improve health of employees
  • To enhance the morale within the workplace

However, some companies who need employees to work on heavy machinery now see marijuana drug testing as a hindrance in finding the right people to be employed. This is because applicants refuse to show up for drug tests. Pre-employment drug testing, although significant and beneficial, just seem to be an unwelcome thought for some applicants.

How Employers Should Handle Employee Marijuana Use

Employers are now experiencing a higher level of difficulty in looking for applicants to fill up their vacant job positions. This is due to the fact that some applicants would walk out in the middle of an interview once they are informed that drug testing will be a requirement in the hiring process. As a result, some employees would either disregard pre-employment drug testing or remove random drug testing policies among its current employees for fear of losing their best employees.

Fortunately, there are ways on how employers can best handle prospective employees with regards to marijuana use. These tips would be helpful to know how the company’s drug policies can still be implemented without having to step on anyone’s rights.

  1. Employers should be able to ask employees if they are taking any medication. With the employee’s right to privacy in mind, the employer must ensure that any medicine taken by the employee would not in any way interfere with the quality of work of the employee and that it should be used in a responsible manner.
  2. There may be certain employees who are using medical marijuana. Because of this, employers should think about reconsidering. The employee should, however, make sure that if there is a need to take medical cannabis during working hours, it should be done discreetly.
  3. Drug policies should be regularly reviewed, revised, and updated with regards to employee’s recreational use of marijuana. For instance, the policy should state that although recreational use of marijuana in the state may be allowed, but it should define whether the company will allow recreational marijuana use within the workplace.
  4. Completely banning employees who use marijuana in states where its use is legal may face some serious issues. Instead of focusing on cannabis use of an employee, the employer should instead monitor and put attention to the worker’s overall job performance. In industries where employees are operating heavy machinery, marijuana use should be strictly prohibited.
  5. Lunch and break times should not be a reason for employees to use marijuana for recreational purposes. While employers would want to respect the privacy of each employee during those times, employers need to be assured by the employees that they can work efficiently without having to take any psychoactive substance when working hours resume.

Rights and Responsibilities of Employers

When it comes to marijuana legalization and its impact in the workplace, employers need to accept the following rights and responsibilities:

  • Employers have the right to appoint and dismiss employees in accordance with company procedures. They should expect reasonable level of performance from their employees and provide a healthy and safe workplace.
  • Employers do not have the right to discriminate against existing or potential employees with regards to race, ethnicity and religion. They should also not allow sexual harassment or vilification to occur in the workplace.
  • Employers should assure that employees are not discriminated, harassed or violated in any way.
  • They should be responsible in educating all employees with regards to their responsibilities and behavioral standards that are acceptable in the workplace.

Rights and Responsibilities of Employees

Employees have their own rights that should be well recognized in terms of marijuana legalization, such as:

  • The right to a healthy and safe workplace
  • The right to any information about the hazards of the job
  • The right to file complaint should they find any workplace hazards
  • The right to not be discriminated, threatened, harassed or be treated differently

Meanwhile, every employee’s responsibility is to:

  • Read company policies and guidelines
  • Comply with applicable safety standards
  • Report any hazardous conditions to the employer
  • Work efficiently and give 100% compliance to assigned tasks
  • Report any job-related illnesses or injury and seek immediate treatment

Marijuana Drug Testing in the Workplace

Drug testing for weed may not be easy to implement for any employer. However, if a well-written company policy is presented to employees and job applicants to emphasize the safety and protection of every individual in the workplace, then this can create a more positive impact to every employee.

Pre-employment drug testing may not be reliable as one of the requirements for hiring an applicant because the presence of marijuana in the body may last for days. This means that an individual who may have stopped using marijuana for a week may still get a positive drug result. However, testing positive does not mean that an employee may produce poor work performance.

Understanding Drug Policies in the Workplace

marijuana legalization drug testing construction industry

It should be clearly written on the company’s drug policies when and what grounds would the company initiate drug testing to employees. It should also indicate the measures to be taken, should an employee be found to be positive with marijuana.

An employer may be free from any liabilities should he find out that an employee’s performance has been compromised due to working under the influence of marijuana or other substances. To create an effective system within your workplace, there are three important things that employers should do:

  1. Be fully aware of the state’s law regarding marijuana
  2. Review company’s policies regularly
  3. Enforce your company’s drug policy and request employees for strict compliance

Ultimately, employers should be able to effectively communicate with the employees. Not all employees may be aware of the state’s legalization of marijuana, which could allow the employer to set workers aside due to marijuana use. In other words, a thorough discussion on the effect of marijuana use and how it can affect performance in the workplace should be done, so that employees will be able to understand.

A drug policy should be part of any organization to ensure that all employees are aware about the dangers of using marijuana. The company policy should have the provision to give assistance to those who are found to be positive, and to educate supervisors to help them determine whether an employee is fit to work.

All in all, the company drug policy should be able to determine which of the workers may be working under the influence of cannabis. This can protect the entirety of the workforce and maintain a healthy and safe workplace for everyone in the company, even in the face of the growing trend of marijuana legalization.

Helpful Links and Resources

https://www.yourdrugtesting.com/legalization-of-marijuana/

http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881

http://www.refinery29.com/2016/04/107985/where-is-weed-legal

https://www.headsup.org.au/rights-responsibilities/employer-rights-and-responsibilities

https://www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2014/09/30/how-marijuana-legislation-will-affect-drug-testing-in-the-workplace/#7be3c0323487

https://ohsonline.com/articles/2016/02/01/marijuana-use-and-its-impact-on-workplace-safety-and-productivity.aspx

Medical Marijuana Workplace Testing

4 Things Employers Should Know About Marijuana and the Workplace

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With marijuana now slowly being legalized in more states, employers should now become aware of their rights and obligations about marijuana in the workplace. Here are four things they need to bear in mind:

  1. Employers have the option to implement drug-free workplace policies.

In most states where recreational or medical marijuana has been approved, zero-tolerance policies are explicitly allowed. Therefore, every employer must make sure that they have established a drug-free workplace policy. For their protection, they should communicate the policies to all workers and direct employees to sign a form acknowledging their receipt of the same.

  1. Employers have the right to terminate employees who use marijuana in the workplace.

Recreational marijuana has been approved in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and the District of Columbia. According to the Federal Controlled Substances Act, marijuana is still a Schedule 1 drug and hence prohibited under federal law. Because of this, employees found using marijuana within the workplace premises may be held liable to the point of job termination.

  1. Careful consideration for the marijuana holder is required.

While marijuana is still illegal under federal law, medical marijuana has been legalized in almost half of the U.S. The problem with most employers is that the laws in at least three states (Arizona, Delaware, and Minnesota) prohibit termination of employees for testing positive for marijuana metabolites alone as long as they possess a valid medical marijuana card. Employers should prove impairment of work by the employee before the latter can be discharged for testing positive for marijuana metabolites.

  1. Marijuana use in the workplace is not a disability accommodation.

At the moment, it is unclear how the American with Disabilities Act’s (ADA) reasonable accommodations requirement will interact with marijuana laws. However, once employees inform their employers that they are using medical marijuana, the employers should check if the employee is potentially disabled pursuant to ADA. However, while it does not require accommodations based on the use of medical marijuana, it does offer protection for the disabled employee.

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Drug Testing Pet Health Workplace Testing

TestCountry Holiday Gift Ideas and Special Offers: For Healthier Holidays

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The holidays are just around the corner! Why not give something unique but also extremely useful and take advantage of TestCountry’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals?

Xmas_GiftsWhen you shop on Black Friday (November 27) and Cyber Monday (November 30), get a 10% discount on any order. Restrictions may apply.

Check out TestCountry’s holiday gift ideas, which feature a wide range of health-centric products for your family and friends. (Click on the picture to the right to go to the TestCountry gift ideas page.)

For Pet Owners:

PetConfirm Pet Health Testing Kits – These pet health testing kits can help pet owners monitor their cats’ and dogs’ health between veterinary checkups.

Enerchip VitaCell Supplement for Cats and Dogs – Simply add to your pets’ water to support the vitality and enhance the growth rate of stem cells.

For Children:

Ancestry Testing Kit – Let your children find out where they come from (with the help of an adult). Makes an ideal educational STEM gift.

Blood Type Test Kit – A great educational STEM gift for children (must be used with adult supervision). Knowing your blood type is also extremely important in emergencies.

Health Related:

Food Intolerance Testing Kits – For people who are feeling unwell, but cannot seem to find the answer, these testing kits can allow them to test for various types of food intolerance to help get them back on track to feeling 100%.

Hormone Imbalance Testing Kits – People both young and old can suffer from hormone imbalances, which can lead to a whole host of health problems.

Home Safety Related:

Drinking Water Testing Kits – Just because water comes out of the tap doesn’t mean it’s safe to drink. Perfect for anyone who has reason to question if their water is safe.

Asbestos Home Testing Kit – Asbestos is still out there and many people don’t even know they have it in their homes.

Visit the TestCountry Holiday Gift Ideas page for your holiday shopping this year, and take advantage of the sale. Let’s all promote healthy holidays!

Drug Testing Substance Abuse Workplace Testing

Employees’ Opioid Use Wreaking Havoc with Companies

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Abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin among employees is leading to lower productivity and higher turnover for companies where abuse is rampant, according to The Wall Street Journal.drug testing

Employers in Allen County, Ohio say up to a whopping 70% of job applicants are failing drug tests, according to Jed Metzger, President of the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce. Employees in the greater Cincinnati area have tested positive for opioids after being involved in accidents, ranging from damaging property with heavy equipment to crashing company vehicles.

In addition to higher accident rates, employee opioid use can contribute to increased theft and absenteeism in the workplace, Trey Grayson, President of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, said.

Although between 2003 and 2013, overall drug use among U.S. workers declined 18%, it actually rose for certain opioids, including Dilaudid and Vicodin, according to Quest Diagnostics numbers.

Companies are combatting employee opioid use by expanding drug testing, introducing zero-tolerance drug use policies and adding employee-assistance programs for workers who need addiction treatment.

Drug Testing Workplace Testing

Managing Workers’ Compensation Costs Through Advanced Drug Testing

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Lab-based oral fluid testing can be a more affordable alternative to urine testing and with the federal government currently working on a set of regulations for saliva tests, more companies are bound to start using them in the near future.drug-free workplace

In addition to being more cost effective than urine testing, lab-based oral fluid testing and drug testing in general can also help a company save money on Workers’ Compensation claims and premiums, according to corporate drug testing expert Bill Current, founder of the Current Consulting Group, and Mark Pew, senior vice president of medical cost management services company PRIUM.

The two recently conducted a webinar detailing how lab-based oral fluid testing could potentially save money for companies for the actual testing process, in lost productivity costs and in Workers’ Compensation premiums.

Because the collection of oral fluid is so much easier than urine collecting, you don’t need to follow all the regulations for urine collecting. It’s also much quicker and you can easily train someone on your staff to do it, meaning you have less employee downtime.

Testing for drugs in the workplace will help companies cut down on employee absenteeism, accidents and Workers’ Compensation (WC) claims. It may even help them save money on their WC premiums.

Visit TestCountry to read the full article on how lab-based oral fluid drug testing can save your company money.

Drug Testing Workplace Testing

New Research Says Workplace Drug Testing Benefits African-American Men

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In what many may see as an odd twist, people’s own bigoted misconceptions actually mean that workplace drug testing benefits African-American men.drug testing Texas politicians

This is because even though drug use is about equal between white and black people, the common perception is that black people abuse drugs much more than their white counterparts, freelance writer Max Taves says. Workplace drug testing shows this misconception to be false, enabling black men to get higher paying jobs more frequently.

Taves wrote an article about the study, which was done by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

“It’s a counterintuitive study. The economist who wrote this kind of knew going into it and wanted to test it,” Taves told the Huffington Post. “What it means is that companies’ information, their perception of African-Americans employees relative to white employees and drug use is wrong.”

Fourteen states, mostly in the South and Midwest, adopted laws back in the 1980s to enforce testing by offering legal and financial incentives to companies that test current and prospective employees. Seven states, mostly in the Northeast and West, developed laws to explicitly limit testing while 29 states made little or no significant changes.

Notre Dame University economist Abigail Wozniak studied the impact of those laws on African-American employment between 1980 and 2010 and found that low-skilled black men were significantly impacted by the pro-drug test laws. Their wages in states that tested rose 12% more than black employees in states opposed to testing and 4% more than in the “neutral” states.

The overall employment rate of black men in pro-testing states didn’t change, Wozniak said, but black men were able to get better jobs because of it. The firms most likely to test employees are bigger, pay better and offer more benefits than firms that don’t test.

“These pro-testing firms hired more blacks and paid more,” said Wozniak.

 Once the companies realized their perception about hiring black employees was incorrect — proven to them by drug testing — they felt more confident hiring black employees.

Drug Testing Workplace Testing

Why Your Company Needs a Current Marijuana Policy

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A new Yahoo article explains in detail why companies need to ensure their drug testing policies are worded correctly to reflect the growing acceptance of marijuana in the country. marijuana legalization

Now that Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational use and many other states have legalized it for medicinal use, company drug policies need to be updated so there are no grey areas when it comes to the drug, the article says.

Companies should follow these steps to make sure they are protected against the possibility of employees believing it is okay to come to work high on marijuana:

1. Add consequences for the use of marijuana at work.

2. Don’t completely prohibit the use of marijuana at all times.

3. Be sure to include marijuana in any drug-testing policy.

4. Make safety a priority.

To read the entire article, click here.

Drug Testing Real Drug Stories Workplace Testing

Drug Tests that Avoid Testing for Marijuana Gaining Popularity

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Marijuana used to be at the very top of the list of drugs to test for in the workplace. It was virtually impossible to find a drug test that tested for any combination of the major abused drugs and not have marijuana included.

drug-free workplaceBut, now that Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana, drug tests that detect all the major drugs except marijuana are starting to pop up.

For example, there is one product named Multi Drug 4 Panel Urine Dipstrip Test that tests for all other relevant drugs like cocaine, opiates, methamphetamine and amphetamine, but does not test for marijuana/THC. These tests are convenient for workplaces that want to have a workplace drug testing policy, but that do not want to risk having an employee test positive for a substance that is currently legal within the state.

 

Drug Testing Workplace Testing

Alere Toxicology Webinar Highlights Ways People Cheat Drug Tests

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People will go to great lengths to beat a drug test if they have been abusing a substance. From paying exorbitant prices for useless body cleanses to purchasing prosthetic penises and synthetic urine, the range of items to cheat on a drug test are as varied as they are entertaining to read about. drug testing Texas politicians

Pat Pizzo, head of toxicology at Alera Toxicology, recently gave a webinar on the various drug cheating methods and what testers need to be on the lookout for and what they need to do to counteract cheating.

Some highlights from the webinar include:

  • The majority of “cleansing” teas and other products are useless because these products are either just diuretics or only work if the person drinks a lot of the liquid, which would be the same as drinking a lot of plain water.
  •  People who drink excessive amounts of liquids will also take B Vitamins to turn their clear urine back to yellow.
  • Testing for creatinine levels and specific gravity will detect diluted samples, even if the color is yellow.
  • Most — but not all — items that people add to urine to cheat a drug test are easily detectable.
  • Most devices that people wear to hold clean urine to avoid giving their own will have some way of heating that urine to body temperature like heating pads, hand warmers or a plastic wedge to be clenched between the buttocks.
  • Bleaching the hair strips melanin from the hair and thus strips traces of drugs from the hair, too.
  • Shampoos alone will not strip drug traces from the hair.
  • People can purchase special mouthwashes and gum for beating an oral fluid test, but it is not clear if these items work.

To see the full coverage of the webinar, click here.