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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As of 2018, the following organizations must comply with DOT screening rules:
In an effort to prevent prescription drug abuse in safety-sensitive industries, the DOT recently mandated expanded opiate testing for the following substances:
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.