Ask An HR Expert: Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing

Today’s question has to do with the rights of an employer when it comes to reasonable suspicion drug testing.

Hello. My name is Katie Stewart with Tandem HR. Thank you for joining me for Ask An HR Expert where we answer any of your HR questions. Today’s question is “what are my rights as an employer when it comes to reasonable suspicion drug testing?” What a great question!

There are a lot of things you should consider as an employer when it comes to reasonable suspicion drug testing. Let’s start with defining reasonable suspicion drug testing. This is when you have evidence or reasonable cause to believe that an employee is under the influence of a drug while performing work or onsite at your work location and you chose to have them take a drug test.

What does that evidence or reasonable suspicion look like?  Observations made by members of management – preferably multiple people making the observations independently.

At Tandem HR, we provide our clients with a reasonable suspicion checklist.

This provides a list of behaviors or symptoms that you can check off as you observe behaviors. You can then compare your observations with other management to see what next steps you need to take.

I recommend that any member of management that has a reasonable suspicion drug testing policy in the workplace attend formal reasonable suspicion drug testing training. This detailed training will ensure your managers know your rights as an employer, what types of behaviors to look for and what the next steps are if you feel someone is under the influence.

Outside of having a checklist and training your management team, I do recommend that companies have a documented policy that notifies employees that, as their employer, you have the right to send individuals for drug testing if you have reasonable suspicion they are under the influence.

A couple of things to note:

  1. Make sure you apply the policy and practices for reasonable suspicion drug testing consistently across the board.
  2. Do not consider prior incidents when you are observing current behaviors and trying to decide if there is reasonable suspicion that an individual is under the influence. Only current behaviors should be considered.

I hope this information was helpful to you today. Thank you for joining me for Ask An HR Expert.

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