Employers Tread Legal Minefield of State Laws in Drug Testing Candidates

With the legalization of medical and even recreational use of marijuana, many employers have been left wondering what their options are when it comes to employee drug testing. Is it even still allowable to test job candidates and employees for a substance they’re permitted to use in their own homes? Employers in the State of Vermont, which legalized recreational marijuana use in July of this year, were unsure prior to the law taking effect.  According to the attorney general’s office, however, little has changed.

“In short, very little is changing,” said Assistant Attorney General Emily Adams of the office’s civil rights unit. “In terms of drug testing, employers can still drug test for marijuana consistent with existing law.”

The new rules were put in place by Act 86, Vermont’s law that allows a person 21 or older to possess small amounts of marijuana (up to an ounce) for consumption in the privacy of their home (not in public places, which is still prohibited). In addition, the law allows a person 21 or older to cultivate two mature marijuana plants and four immature ones. The bill, now established law, was approved by the Vermont Legislature earlier this year and signed into law by Governor Phil Scott.

A Narrow Window for Drug Testing in Some States

So while drug testing for marijuana is still permitted in Vermont, it can only be done under certain circumstances. Drug testing of job applicants can only happen once a conditional offer of employment has been made to that individual. The circumstances under which drug testing may be performed on existing employees is even narrower. For starters, the employer must have good cause to suspect that the employee is using drugs. Secondly, the employer must be able to provide access to a “bona fide” rehabilitation program for alcohol and drug abuse to the employee. Finally, if the employee tests positive, the employer cannot terminate employment if the employee agrees to participate in the employer-offered rehabilitation program.

In Indiana, one large employer has gone even further than the Vermont law: the Belden electric wire factory in Richmond is offering both employment AND substance abuse treatment to applicants who are addicts, according to NPR. Those who complete the training and the rehabilitation are offered jobs. By and large, however, the country is still a hostile place to drug users looking for employment.

Do You Know the Rules?

Since marijuana legalization varies state by state, employers may find themselves climbing over a veritable minefield of rules and regulations, particularly if they interview candidates in different states. In these cases, pre-employment testing experts ensure that pre-employment drug testing is carried out within the confines of state rules and regulations.

Contact DataCheck to inquire about professional pre-employment services such as drug testing and criminal background checks that protect your workers and your business.

Drug Testing, Background Checks and Finding Work While Sober

Finding a job in today’s economic times can be difficult, to say the least. A shortage of jobs, a population lacking necessary skills and rising costs for employers, all make the landscape what it currently is. For employers, the need to hire the right people is always top of mind.

Wasting time and resources to onboard, train and then, dismiss an employee, is never the desired route. To pick the right candidate however, there are several steps hiring managers should take. These steps will test the skills of a candidate, verify their identity and examine their background to help the company make an informed decision about who they are bringing into their workplace.

Drug Testing for Jobs

Employers will shy away from hiring drug users not only because the activities are illegal, but also because it can affect work performance, put the workplace and other employees at risk, and in some industries, is even against the law.

For the many people who are fighting addiction and making their way back into the workforce, this topic also raises a number of questions around employability and whether or not their past will have an effect on their ability to enter the workforce again.

Having the stability a job provides is important for everyone. Especially those who may be recovering from addiction and looking to stay on a healthy path. A regular paycheck will make it easier to pay bills, afford necessities and keep some stress at bay. With the job market in its current condition however, this can be difficult to achieve.

Background Checks Will Reveal Lies

Companies who choose to screen candidates for drug use, or randomly test their own staff, have seen incidents where skipping out on the test center appointment all together is happening. This is a sign of the current situation faced by many employers.

If your company has a plan in place to assist with re-entry into the workforce for those who may have had issues in the past but are doing better in the present, you’ll need a plan in place to ensure they remain committed to the job and sober. Work with case managers and counselors to match and manage candidates for the best outcome.

For applicant’s, remember that while you don’t need to talk about your past addictions or issues, lying on an application or being dishonest in the interview process will likely cost you a potential job. Background checks will show the employer past arrests or other criminal activity you have been involved in – even if your drug test comes up clean. If you’ve been doing better, highlight that when the question comes up and be honest about your personal advancements.

If you need help with background and drug testing for potential new hires contact DataCheck Inc. We offer criminal checks, driving records, credit reports, employment and education verification, reference checking, drug testing, and a wide variety of other searches to assist you in your applicant pre-screening process. Protect your business  and pre-screen before you hire.

New Hires & Drug Testing: What You Should Know

Hiring new employees is a cumbersome task. From vetting the right candidates, to scouring resumes and ultimately starting the application and hiring process – there is a lot involved. Depending on the industry you’re in and the state you reside, there can be several other factors that also come into play as well.

Drug Testing for Jobs

Drug testing is a major part of the hiring process for many companies. These tests can show if an applicant has used illegal drugs like cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates and more. Urinalysis is the most common method used to test for traces of drugs in the system and is one of the best options for uncovering illegal drug use long after its affect has worn off on the user.

Why Employers Drug Test for Jobs

Bringing individuals into a workforce that can put the operations or others at risk is a huge liability. That can extend beyond drug use to those with criminal, violent histories or simply being careless in their online social media presence. Qualifications and standards necessary for each job will vary. Operating heavy machinery will take a certain level of awareness that drugs can impair for example. Screening for issues upfront is the best way to protect a company from issues down the line.

Are Drug Tests Legal?

While there has been laws passed that say it’s not an invasion of privacy to have applicants drug tested at a facility, there are still somethings you’ll need to be sure of before you create a policy for your company. Some states have mandatory drug testing, while others don’t, for example, and there are laws stating that discriminating or being selective about who you drug test violates laws. It’s best to work with professionals who know the laws and cover all the bases.

At DataCheck, we offer drug testing services so you can ensure you hire drug-free workers. We offer traditional urine-based lab testing at over 4,000 collection facilities nationwide as well as instant testing products and drug testing with hair and saliva. We can also help you write your drug free work policy.

Contact us to learn more about our drug test kits and services.

Why Home Improvement Companies Should Conduct Thorough Background Checks

People all over the United States rely on contractors for renovations and home improvements. Homeowners expect jobs to be done correctly and workers to behave professionally. A bad experience can lead to negative reviews that can make it more difficult for a company to find work in the future. An on-the-job accident can also be expensive for an employer. This is why it is critical for home improvement companies to conduct background checks before hiring workers.

Check Job Applicants’ Criminal Records

A background check should include several components. One is a check for a criminal record, particularly a history of theft or violence. Since contractors work with expensive equipment and workers spend hours inside customers’ homes, there are many opportunities to steal. It could be impossible to pinpoint the person responsible if several are working at the site. On-the-job violence is another concern, particularly since contractors work in physically demanding conditions that can test their patience. By checking to see if job applicants have criminal records, your home improvement company can screen out people who might pose a risk to customers or fellow employees.

Conduct Pre-Employment Drug Testing

Background checks for contractors should also include drug testing. Using tools and heavy equipment while under the influence of drugs is a recipe for disaster. Accidents could be serious and even fatal. Workers who are under the influence of drugs may also do shoddy work that could put the homeowners or other workers at risk and make your company vulnerable to lawsuits. You should conduct drug testing before you hire an employee and during the period of employment.

Check Candidates’ Driving Records

Workers for home improvement companies often drive company vehicles to and from jobs and to transport tools and supplies. If your employees will be driving company vehicles, you should check their driving records. You need to make sure each employee has a valid license and does not have any record of speeding, reckless driving, or driving under the influence. This can protect your company from accidents, property damage, and injuries.

How DataCheck Can Help with Pre-Employment Background Checks

Conducting through background checks is essential before you hire workers for your home improvement company. It can help you avoid on-the-job accidents, criminal activity, and other problems. DataCheck has helped all types of businesses across the United States conduct background checks on job applicants so they could hire the most qualified and reliable employees. Contact us today so we can help you conduct background checks on prospective employees.

Should a Pre-Employment Background Check Include Drug Testing?

When companies are looking for candidates to hire for open positions, they routinely conduct background checks. Many employers also conduct pre-employment drug testing. In some cases, drug testing is required by law, but in many cases it is up to the discretion of the employer.

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Required?

Most companies across the United States are not legally obligated to drug test applicants for employment. Some state and local governments prohibit or place limitations on pre-employment drug testing.

In some cases, the decision on whether or not to test job applicants for drug use depends on whether or not a union is involved. A non-union employer may test applicants for drug use, but in unionized employment a drug testing program must be negotiated between the company and the union.

In some cases, pre-employment drug testing is required by law. All federal, state, and local civil service jobs require drug testing before an applicant is accepted for a position. Civil service jobs include public school workers, road construction and maintenance workers, law enforcement personnel, and people who work in social services. The Department of Transportation is also required to test all job applicants, and applicants for certain positions may be excluded if they are using certain drugs, even if they have a prescription.

In other industries, pre-employment drug testing is not required, but it is usually done for safety reasons. People who work in the healthcare field and who operate motor vehicles and heavy machinery are routinely drug tested.

Why Many Employers Conduct Drug Testing, Even If It Is Not Required

Even though drug testing is not required in many industries, a majority of employers still do it. They recognize the benefits of having a drug-free workplace and realize that employees who use drugs are more likely to be involved in accidents, to experience or cause injuries, and to have excessive rates of absenteeism and poor on-the-job performance.

DataCheck Can Help with Background Checks and Drug Testing

If your company plans to hire one or more new employees, you have to decide whether or not to test applicants for the use of drugs. Even if it is not required by law, testing job applicants is still a wise decision that can help you have a safe and productive workforce. DataCheck can help with pre-employment background checks, including drug testing. Contact us today to learn more.