The Dos and Don’ts of Drug Testing for HR Specialists

Every organization aims to provide the best services to its clients. One of the ways to ensure this is by having productive employees. In the workplace, we use the HR management software to ensure that the most suitable candidate is recruited for the job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, HR Specialists perform the following:

  • Recruiting
  • Labor and employee relations
  • Job analysis
  • Training and development
  • Benefits and compensation

They must ensure that there is a conducive working environment that enhances productivity, and this includes ensuring their workers are not using drugs.

Drug testing is a vital step to assist HRs in recruiting the most talented and highly-qualified candidates for the job. It complements efforts to maintain a productive, healthy and safe working environment. Without a drug test, employers are likely to face challenges such as accidents on the job, a decline in overall performance as well as absenteeism.

According to the research by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 67% of drug users are employed. Drug testing is, therefore, an appropriate method of having a drug-free working condition and the best way to take out employees who break the rules.

Drug Testing

Below are some of the Dos and Don’ts of Drug Testing in the workplace for HR specialists.


1. Consult an Attorney

Each state has different regulations as regards drug tests. You must be very familiar with the laws guiding drug testing for employees in your state. Consulting an attorney will save time and a significant amount of money that you might spend on liability. Involving an attorney will also help you to adhere strictly to all state laws and policies already put in place.

2. Establish a Drug-Free Workplace Policy

As an HR, you must first create a written and comprehensive drug-free workplace policy and include all the important elements in it. The necessary legal elements to feature in the policy include; the purpose of the test, method of implementation, definition of all terms and illicit substances, and responsibilities of your employees. You must state it that you run a drug-free organization in all your job postings. This way, all applicants will know that they will go through a mandatory drug test.

Subsequently, you must give everyone applying to your company a copy to read, digest and sign. By signing the policy, they automatically give you the power to ask for mandatory drug test in a state-approved laboratory legally.

3. Choose a Drug Testing Method

After having a drug policy in place, you must also choose a drug testing method. There are different types of drug testing procedures ranging in cost and accuracy. You must select the one which suits you best. Hair test for drugs is also applicable here. However, in terms of cost, a urine sample test is cheaper.

Furthermore, some tests may be restrictive based on state regulations. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, blood collection and urine samples are minimally intrusive methods and whichever case, the employees must be told which form of the test they are being subjected to.

4. Give Proper Notice to All Your Employees

You should give prior notice to all your employees about an upcoming drug test. Communication is an essential factor in the process. You must educate your workers and also inform them through a memo or a meeting. You have to ensure that everyone is updated about the process and also give them opportunities to ask questions.


1. Do Not Carry Out a Drug Testing Without Consulting Your Counsel

Most HRs like to perform random drug testing as an effective method of detecting and deterring drug use in the workplace. However, random drug testing is highly prohibited and limited in some states. It should only be enforced under the legal advice of an employment attorney who is very experienced in this aspect of law.

2. Do Not Give Out an Employment Offer Before Receiving Test Results

Do not view a drug testing process as a mere formality and allow a new employee to start the job before getting their results. You must always have it in mind that in a situation where their results turn out positive, and they are already working, it is difficult to terminate the employment. Instead, wait until you receive the test results before the employee resumes work.

3. Do Not Disclose the Test Results to Anyone

Confidentiality is critical when it comes to drug testing in the workplace. You must not disclose to anyone when an employee has failed a drug test. The test results must be confidential, or the employers will face applicable lawsuits for breach of confidentiality.

Drug Testing

Lastly, you might even be charged with violations of HIPAA laws, which are put in place to ensure that health records are kept confidential.


In conclusion, Drug testing in the workplace should be carried out safely and with the best interest of everyone, including the employers and the employees. It is your responsibility as an HR specialist to educate your employees and make the workplace safer and simpler.

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