We recently sat down with WFC & Associates, LLC president Bill Current to ask him about corporate drug testing.
WFC is a consulting firm that helps corporations design and implement customized drug testing policies. With legislation about drug testing in a constant state of flux, Current looks at the future of drug testing and what companies need to think about when designing a drug testing policy.
TestCountry: What are the major changes coming up that could potentially affect drug testing policies in the future?
Bill Current, I think there are three big things on the horizon right now that affect drug-free workplace programs.
Number one, of course, is the legalization of marijuana and how employers can and should respond to that.
Number two would be the regulations for lab-based oral fluid testing. The federal government is in the process of developing regulations for lab-based oral fluid testing and when that happens you’ll see a lot more employers asking about oral fluid testing.
And because of the way the economy is right now, employers seem to be really interested in us showing them a return on investment model so they can see what their savings will be if they continue spending money on drug testing. I think in the past a lot of employers just sort of went along with drug testing. But now because of the economy, they have to justify the expense of drug testing and they’re looking for a demonstration of what their return on investment is going to be. And they want it to be reflected in a drug testing policy.
If an employer is dealing with marijuana in accordance with applicable laws, they want to know they are choosing the best drug testing method -- whether that be urine, hair, oral fluid or a combination of them -- and that they can demonstrate what their return on investment is.
TestCountry: What is the importance for businesses of having a comprehensive drug testing policy?
Bill Current Every company must have a drug testing policy if it wants to conduct drug testing. To conduct drug testing without a policy is to invite a lot of trouble and legal exposure. Your policy not only states your purpose in doing drug testing, but it states your efforts as an employer to do drug testing the right way.
If somebody challenges a drug test result and you can show them your policy, you can demonstrate that this is how you do drug testing and you are consistently doing it that way all the time. Then it’s a lot more difficult for somebody to legally challenge your program. The policy is there not only to guide your program and serve as a blueprint for your program, but it’s also there to protect the employer and the employee if there is any challenge to a drug test result.
TestCountry: What is the service that WFC & Associates provides?
A drug testing policy is really the cornerstone of an effective drug-free workplace program and so every policy that we do is customized to meet each client’s specific needs and their drug testing objectives. So, whatever they want to achieve with their drug testing program, we build a policy centered around those objectives that comply with all of the state and federal laws that are applicable to that client and also that are designed to achieve specific drug testing objectives.
If someone wants a one-state policy or a 50-state policy or a DOT policy -- whatever they want, we’ll customize that policy to fit their particular needs. For example, if you have a very small company in one state, their policy could be 14 or 15 pages. But if you have a company that’s in 50 different states, then their policy might be 20 pages and they might have 20 or more pages of amendments to the policy to cover the different states that they’re in.
TestCountry: What is the process if someone wants to create a customized corporate drug testing policy?
Bill Current, It can work a number of different ways, but they would typically contact TestCountry and say “we need a policy” and TestCountry would contact us to reach out to that client. Once we make contact with them, though, then we ask them to fill out a questionnaire that addresses all of the components of a comprehensive drug testing policy.
Based on that information, we’re able to put together the first draft of the policy. And then we keep rewriting it until it’s exactly the way the client wants it to be. So, we usually guarantee the first draft of the policy within two weeks after we get the questionnaire. And then depending on how many drafts it takes to get it just right, it may be another week or two or three before it’s finalized. We can work faster than that but it depends on how fast the client gets back to us with the revisions that they want.
TestCountry: What is the most important aspect to think about for businesses who want to develop a comprehensive drug testing policy?
Bill Current The number one priority is to determine what your drug testing objectives are. Why do you want to drug test? What do you hope to achieve with drug testing? Once you know what your objectives are, it will help you better understand how you will test, who you will test and when you will test.
If your objectives are nothing more than to just comply with DOT regulations, for example, then we can put together a very basic policy that meets the DOT requirements.
Let’s say somebody comes to us and says “we have an unacceptable number of accidents and workers’ compensation claims and our insurance premiums keep going up,” then based on that information we may build a completely different type of policy for that client that will lead to the type of drug testing that TestCountry provides.
TestCountry: What types of testing do you include in the policies?
Bill Current If the client comes to us and says “we want to lower accidents and reduce the number of workers’ compensation claims,” then we’ll talk to them about reasonable suspicion testing, random drug testing and we’ll talk to them about pre-employment drug testing. They may end up doing all kinds of different drug testing, but once we build the policy, they’ll understand what the potential return on investment is on all those potential types of testing.
If someone says; “we have very unusual work hours and we’re not operating when collection sites are open,” then we’ll work with TestCountry to pick a drug testing method that would help continue to do drug testing even though they are working a graveyard shift or have 24-hour shifts or are in remote locations.
We’re always working with TestCountry to identify the most effective drug testing method for each client and then we put that in the policy and we make sure that in all the states that they’re located in, that they have the correct legal information in their policies to make sure they’re complying with all the state and federal laws in their drug testing policy.