3 Questions to Ask as You Develop Your Company's Drug Policy

Hiba Haider

Developing and implementing a workplace drug policy is no easy feat. Yet, for employers, drug screening can be a way to ensure that employees will be positive additions to the team.

A 2011 study published in the Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice found that 19% of companies saw a boost in employee productivity after a company-wide drug testing program was put in place. Companies experiencing high absenteeism and workers comp incidents saw big drops in both of those categories.

Yet introducing a new company drug policy can be challenging.

Employees and job candidates may view drug testing as an invasion of privacy, and they may not understand why a drug test is necessary. Compliance is another consideration. Some states have instituted laws that aim to ensure the drug testing process is legitimate and protects an employee's privacy.

Developing a company drug screening policy will help you explain the testing program's goals to your employees and keep you on the right side of applicable laws.

To get your policy started, ask the following questions:

1. How will my business and staff benefit from a drug policy?

Drug testing provides many benefits. In addition to the increased productivity, improved attendance rates, lower workers comp claims, the 2011 study also found decreased turnover at companies that implement drug screening.

In some industries, drug screening is required. In transportation, education, and healthcare, for example, certain jobs are only available to individuals who return clean drug test results.

And, depending on the state you operate in, you may receive liability protections or discounts on workers' compensation premiums if you develop a drug testing policy and screen your staff.

2. What legal implications should I consider?

As you build out your drug policy, you should consult legal counsel to make sure your policy meets legal guidelines that affect how you conduct preemployment or randomized drug testing.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), for example, requires that employers obtain consent from employees and candidates before conducting any investigations, and many states have their own legislation to regulate drug testing practices.

Make sure to discuss with counsel the implications of the legalization of marijuana in many states on your drug screening policy.

Working with a lawyer can help you develop a policy that maintains confidentiality, respects privacy, and complies with federal, state, and local laws.

3. How will I implement the new policy?

Make sure to inform your staff that a drug policy exists or has recently been enacted by providing a copy of the policy to every employee in print or digital form. Many companies also include it in the company handbook or in another location that's easily accessible by every employee.

Use onboarding sessions for new employees to explain the drug policy, how it relates to their jobs, and the consequences of infractions. This approach provides an opportunity to answer questions, obtain feedback, and address issues.

As you modify your policy, make sure to announce the new changes to your staff transparently.

Build With Care

A thoughtful approach to developing a drug screening policy will put you one step closer to building trust among team members and your customers.

As always, GoodHire is ready to help. Learn more about GoodHire's 5-panel and 10-panel drug screening service options or explore the reasons businesses choose to screen their employees in this infographic.

Hiba Haider

Hiba Haider


Hiba is an expert product marketer with a background in inbound and digital marketing. She writes about recruiting, HR laws, and how to build a great culture and is a proud Babson alumna.

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