Drug testing has been a part of your company’s screening procedures for as long as you can remember. Yet, with the recent legalization of recreational marijuana, you may be thinking about revising your policies. So, should companies in Western New York still drug test for marijuana? Here’s what you need to know.
Reasons to Test for Marijuana
- It May Be the Law
Even though recreational marijuana is legal in nineteen states as well as Washington D.C. and Guam, it’s illegal at the federal level. As a result, some federal-level jobs require testing regardless of individual state laws. Several safety-sensitive industries also have strict drug screening programs which include marijuana testing. For example, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducts pre-employment, random, reasonable suspicion, and post-accident screening on commercial drivers.
- You Want to Keep Your Company Safe
An accident in a warehouse, factory or on a construction site could be devastating. Thus, many companies drug test to discourage substance abuse. They don’t want employees to show up to work under the influence which, in turn, could negatively impact everyone’s safety.
Reason NOT to Test for Marijuana
- Testing Isn’t Straightforward
If one of your employees had a beer last night, you wouldn’t fire him the next morning. However, marijuana can show up in a traditional urine test for up to 30 days. Therefore, someone who legally smoked weed several times a week after hours could fail a drug screen. In other words, a positive marijuana test doesn’t necessary indicate current impairment. For this reason, many companies hesitate to apply traditional screening methods to hiring/firing decisions.
- You Could Limit Your Talent Pool
What if you automatically eliminated any candidates who smoked cigarettes? You could miss out on some top employees. It may not make sense for your organization disqualify people based on their outside-of-work use of legal substances.
Situations Where You May Decide to Drug Test
- Pre-Employment Screening
As mentioned above, some federal and safety-sensitive industries require a clean drug screen before employment. If your organization doesn’t fall in either of these categories, be careful before mandating pre-employment drug tests. Several states and regions either ban or restrict the use of marijuana drug screening in hiring decisions.
- Ongoing Screening
Once again, ongoing screening is required in federal and safety-sensitive industries. Organizations with drug-free workplace policies also may embrace random testing, but traditional screening methods continue to be problematic. After all, employees who are 100% drug-free on the job still could test positive if they are using marijuana after hours.
- Post-Accident/Reasonable Suspicion
Many businesses require testing if someone is involved in an accident or appears to be under the influence. Just keep in mind, a positive screen doesn’t necessarily mean the person was impaired at that time. So, unless your company has a strict policy in place, you may need additional evidence such as documented physical observations.
Does Your Company Need to Run Drug Testing in Western New York?
At Metrodata Services, we offer multiple drug screening options. And you can choose whether to include a marijuana panel. Give us a call today to learn more!