Workplace Drug Testing BLOG

Random Drug Testing

urine drug test

Random drug testing is a necessary aspect of employment in safety-sensitive industries. This procedure is often carried out for DOT drug testing and FAA drug testing to ensure workplace and public safety.

Purpose of Random Drug Testing

The purpose of random drug testing is to deter employees from abusing drugs or alcohol throughout the year. Workers are statistically less likely to use drugs recreationally if they have agreed to submit to periodic screening, according to the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act.

Are random drug tests legal?

Random drug testing is perfectly legal, provided that employers have the program clearly documented in a workplace safety policy. Employees should be notified of this procedure during the pre-employment screening process, and signage should be posted throughout the workplace.

How does random drug testing work?

Random drug testing is performed by selecting employees at random to provide a specimen to screen for substance abuse. Randomization is achieved by Human Resources via Excel spreadsheet to eliminate the risk of discrimination or testing the same workers more often than others. Random drug testing is usually unannounced in order to weed out frequent drug users.

Can an employee be terminated for refusing a drug test?

If clearly documented on a company workplace drug testing policy, an employee who refuses to provide a sample for random drug testing can be lawfully subject to termination. As long as the employer abides by state drug testing laws, an employee who does not comply with the policy has no argument in defense of keeping their position.

What are the random drug testing laws in each state?

Drug testing laws vary somewhat by region. For a full list, please visit State Drug Testing Laws to see the specific rules in every state.

Who must abide by DOT random drug testing rules?

As of 2018, the following organizations must comply with DOT screening rules:

  • Federal Airline and Aviation Agency (FAA)
  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
  • Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
  • Federal Transportation Administration (FTA)
  • Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA)
  • United States Coast Guard (USCG)

What are the DOT random drug testing requirements?

The US Department of Transportation (DOT) amends their requirements for drug testing directly on their website. The following drugs must be screened on a standard 5-panel DOT drug test:

  • Marijuana (THC)
  • Cocaine (COC)
  • Amphetamines (AMP)
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Opiates (OPI)

In an effort to prevent prescription drug abuse in safety-sensitive industries, the DOT recently mandated expanded opiate testing for the following substances:

  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxymorphone

Do companies that random drug test save money?

Statistically, organizations that adopt a random drug testing policy not only save long-term expenses via reduced turnover, absenteeism, and benefits claims; random drug testing is linked with greater productivity and healthier employees. The upfront cost of random drug testing is fractional compared to the potential cost of an onsite injury or fatality linked with substance abuse.

Related Resources

DISA Random Drug Testing Policies

The Value of Random Drug Testing

FMCSA Drug & Alcohol Testing Rules