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Can an Employer Require Drug Testing in The workplace?

Employer Drug Testing Video Transcript

Can an employer require drug testing in the workplace?

You know, an employer can require drug testing. In fact, an employer may have a duty to require drug testing because the employer has an obligation to make the workplace safe to the employees, to customers and to anyone else who comes there.

Does an employee have to submit to a drug test?

Maybe. An employer generally should have what's called reasonable suspicion in order to require a drug test, although if an employer wants to randomly drug test and it's done randomly and uniformly, an employer could do that too.

What should an employee do if they are required to take a drug test?

If an employee is told to take a test and they think they are going to pass it, they probably should take the test. If an employee thinks they are going to fail the drug test, they need to think carefully about why that is. If an employee is going to fail a drug test, possibly they should take it anyway and turn themselves in for treatment. Many employers are humane and will deal with the issue, allow the employee, with monitoring and treatment, to continue working.

What should an employer do if there is a drug/alcohol problem in the workplace?

One thing an employer should do is adopt a drug policy. There is a statute in Arizona that basically gives an employer what's called a safe harbor from lawsuit if they have a policy and they follow it. So if an employer thinks that there is a problem with drugs or alcohol in the workplace, again, they have a duty to do something about it, they should adopt a policy follow-up and occasionally drug test. Drugs and alcohol become a problem and have been for many years but many see an increasing problem in the workplace. It costs productivity, it costs time, it costs energy, it costs money. And drugs and alcoholism are a disease that needs treating, so I hope that if somebody has a problem, that they seek treatment and I hope if you're an employer, that you're humane with how you deal with this situation.


About the author: Kraig J. Marton is an employment attorney that heads the employment law department at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg Wilk. He assists employers in compliance with Arizona labor laws.