Job Drug Testing As Marijuana Legalization Expands

Many U.S. states have recently legalized the use of marijuana either for medical or recreational purposes (or both). This has left some employees to wonder whether they’re protected from losing their jobs if they are caught out as marijuana users in their drug tests.

This has also left employers wondering what their rights are to drug test or dismiss for marijuana use. In most states, it’s legal for employers to dismiss employees for using or being under the influence of marijuana at work. When it comes to off-duty use, however, the picture gets a little muddier.

Legal experts on the subject note that it depends on your state’s laws and whether you were using marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.

Medical Marijuana

To date, medical marijuana is legal in 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. In these states, people with serious health conditions can register for a medical marijuana card with the approval and authorization of a doctor. In many of these states, workers who have been approved to use medical marijuana can’t be prosecuted under state law. It’s important to remember, however, that marijuana is still illegal under federal law, even for legitimate medical purposes.

Recreational Marijuana

The recreational use of cannabis is legal to date in 11 states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington). Most of these states do NOT protect workers from dismissal due to marijuana use as long as the drug test is conducted under legal circumstances.

Legal drug testing can be a bit of a rules minefield. It’s generally safe for employers to drug test applicants after making a conditional offer of employment. In many states, however, employers are prevented from conducting routine or random drug testing of existing employees, unless the employee appears intoxicated at work (although determining what constitutes “impaired behavior” is a complex issue itself), was involved in an accident, or holds a safety-sensitive position such as vehicle driver.

Step Carefully in Drug Screenings

Drug screenings are an important part of the hiring process for many companies. They help protect companies and their employees. It’s essential, however, that employers ensure they’re following all the rules, which have gotten more complex in the face of marijuana legalization. With the services of a professional pre-employment background screening company like DataCheck, you can protect your workers and your business and avoid negligent hiring lawsuits while still complying with the law.

Contact DataCheck today!

Background Checking Employment Candidates for a Safer Workplace

It’s the job of every employer to keep their workers safe. It’s not only a responsibility toward workers, but it’s also about reducing liability, keeping productivity high and turnover low.

While no one can see into the future to predict how effective a candidate will be as an employee, background checks can go a long way toward ensuring that employers are doing their best to keep their workplaces safe.

Substance Abuse Checks

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), more than 15 percent of Americans are living with a substance abuse problem. This statistic is alarming for several reasons. For employers, it means that it’s more challenging than ever to keep a drug-free workplace. Many employers perceive the problem is worsening with the advent of legal marijuana in many states.

Drug use by employees or in the workplace can lead to an unsafe environment, a less productive environment and more employee absenteeism and turnover. You have a responsibility to keep all your employees safe, so it’s in your organization’s best interest to hire drug-free candidates.

Criminal Background Checks

When you’re making hiring decisions, it’s critical you have all the information relevant to the position you’re trying to fill. Quality background screening can identify criminal histories that applicants may not be revealing. These screenings help companies to hire the right candidates for their organization and ensure that the candidate won’t put other employees or the company’s assets in jeopardy.

Consider Drug Testing and Background Checks for a Safer Workplace

Drug testing has shown to improve workplace safety and productivity and reduce employer liability. Criminal background checks yield similar results, helping companies ensure that new employees haven’t been convicted of crimes that may be relevant to their job description.

Be Sure to Stay within the Law

Job candidates do have rights, and they may vary from state to state. When you conduct background and drug tests, ensure they’re properly structured and that you’re staying within the boundaries of both federal law and any laws your state may have to prevent you from using certain data against candidates. A professional background check organization can help you with this.

Seek Professional Services

DataCheck, a provider of pre-employment background checks, drug tests and screening services, offers a comprehensive search of the major social media platforms to gain insight into a candidate’s online behavior and appropriateness based on your company’s basic code of conduct and values. The service can help uncover evidence of criminal behavior, unprofessional conduct or lies, and misrepresentation about experience and education. The goal is to prevent the hiring of candidates who aren’t a good fit or who could even be a danger to the company’s existing employees and reputation.

Contact us for more information on the ways DataCheck can help with screening candidates via social media and other means

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.