Workplace Drug Testing BLOG

Many people are unaware of the differences in drug testing regulations between the states in the United States. It is assumed that these regulations are generally regulated by federal sources and that there are few differences in the way this process is handled; however, there are many ways that these policies are unique. In order to understand them better, you’ll need to know about the different types of drug testing.
    • Voluntary: There are 17 states that are classified as voluntary. In these states, there are special incentives (generally this means denial of workers compensation in the event of positive drug tests result or annual workers comp premiums) offered to employers who establish drug testing programs. In order to get these incentives, the company needs to adhere to the regulations set out by that state.
    • Mandatory: There are 19 mandatory states. Mandatory in this case means that a company which has a drug testing program must adhere to regulations set out by the state. Generally, this means that there are rules laid out about how the testing will be done and in many of these states, rules are laid out on how to run many aspects of the drug testing program as well.
    • Required: In states that are classified as required, there are specific job types that are required to adhere to the drug testing programs laid out by the state, these companies absolutely must conduct alcohol testing regularly. Jobs that are generally affected by this include home health care workers, public works contractors, state contractors and those who are made responsible for the care of children.
    • Open: There are very few states that fall into this category today. In these states, there are no specific regulations on the way that drug testing is run or on what it can or cannot do in the process of drug testing or in reaction to a positive result. Essentially drug testing is regulated by whoever chooses to design a program and is run in the way that company sees fit.
    • Hybrid: In a hybrid state, there are regulations that are a combination of more than one type of drug testing regulation. This means that one grouping of industry leaders will be required to conduct drug testing no matter what their preference is while other less state involved industries are allowed to choose whether or not they drug test and offered incentives to do so.
These types have their similarities but the differences are very important when you are designing a drug testing policy as these regulations have a major influence on the way you’ll need to conduct drug testing. This is especially true when your company may be facing a lawsuit from an employee who was let go due to a positive test result or another employee who felt that their rights were violated by your policy. If you make a point of following the regulations of your state, there are likely to be far fewer problems in the long run which is best for you, your employees and your state.