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Drug Tests As Part Of An Employer’S Preemployment Screening Process

Drug Tests As Part Of An Employer’S Preemployment Screening Process

Drug tests are increasingly becoming part of an employer’s preemployment screening suite of background checks.   While some employers are still reluctant to conduct background checks as part of the preemployment screening process, many more are faced with several conditions that mandate they do so.   For many, it is a fact of life whose time has come.

Mainly, larger corporations mandate drug testing to avoid the liability factors that accompany employees challenged by substance abuse on the job.  To short hand it, if a drunk or stoned employee acts up on the job, the company is liable for any injuries or damages.   The inebriated employee is more prone to violent outbursts and lack of judgment.   Every year they hurt people and even kill people, aside from the injuries they cause to themselves. 

The inebriated employee lacks the necessary motor skills.  Amazingly, most will insist they are just fine and ready to go, living in the denial that resulted in substance abuse in the first place.  They can become obstreperous and unpredictable.   Their appearance often suffers.   Clients become suspicious.   Surely, their presence results in a drop in morale among the other, sober workers.

Small businesses who have been reluctant to conduct drug tests on their employment candidates, find they are being compelled to do so if they desire to enter contracts with large corporations.  Defense and security related industries, especially, but other multi-nationals issue to newly contracted businesses a list of background checks that any contracted employee must first pass before being allowed on the site.   Many contractors, from the painters to the IT Consultants will find their employees undergoing drug tests before being allowed to work onsite in hospitals or other healthcare environments.  

If you own a small business and are informed you must have all your contract workers undergo background screening and drug tests, sI realize it can be confusing.  Since you are unfamiliar with the world of either drug tests or background searches, you should often ask for specifics..   It is best you request a list of background searches the contracting business is mandating    You should find out if the hiring business desires five or ten panel drug tests.   he ten panel, obviously, searches for more drugs during the specimen review.   In the case of most healthcare agencies, they will require the ten panel drug test.

Other companies, mainly trucking and transport companies, will need for their drivers to undergo Department of Transportation (DOT) compliance.   The DOT requires a ten panel drug test but with a split specimen.   Where the non-DOT reviews a single specimen, the DOT Drug Test entails the examination of two individual vials of urine.  Most trucking and transport companies are required to have their drivers undergo drug testing once a year.

Whether you are conducting drug tests for your own business or for compliance reasons with a larger firm with whom you just won a contract, you are wise in insisting your candidates undergo the drug test within three days of your request.  This keeps them honest, because they will need more time to get the illicit drugs out of their system.   With some drugs abstinence combined with flushing chemicals your candidate can buy at the local head shop may render negative results.   So remember, time is on their side.   Don’t give them too much of it.

Lastly, any drug collection service has a Medical Review Officer (MRO) to examine what may be false positives.  False positives are just that, when a legitimate drug mimics an illegitimate drug in the urine.     Some drug collection services charge extra for the MRO and some don’t.  Be sure to ask so there are no surprises.

With the economic downturn and liability costs being so dear, it should come as no surprise that more businesses are insisting their employment candidates undergo drug tests.   The sober candidate, as noted before, is less prone to erratic behavior, and less vulnerable to blackmail or employee theft of sensitive databases and proprietary information.   In a time when you need employees producing on all cylinders, the last thing you need in your office are those deluded by a higher calling.  

Check them out before you hire.


Gordon Basichis is the Co-Founder of Corra Group, specializing in pre-employment background checks and corporate research. He has been a marketing and media executive and has worked in the entertainment industry, the financial, healthcare and technology sectors. He is the author of the best selling Beautiful Bad Girl, The Vicki Morgan Story, a non-fiction novel that helped define exotic behavior in the late twentieth century. He is the author of the Constant Travellers and has recently completed a new book, Chinese Takeout, dealing with Chinese Espionage in the United States. He has been a journalist for several newspapers and is a screenwriter and producer.

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