Top 4 Things Employers Must Do When Drug Screening for New Hires
Expedited Expiration for Chain of Custody Forms (CCF)
Employers that send applicants out for drug testing must provide a chain of custody form explaining the type of test to be conducted along with applicant identifiable information, and specimen ID. The CCF form can be delivered in a hard copy triplicate form or electronically with a bar code that is scanned once at the collection site. Employers have the capability to put an expiration date on an electronic CCF and allow the applicant sufficient time to provide their sample. Applicants have a tendency to “run the clock” in order to hide potential drug use by cleaning out their system; therefore, having a 48-hour expiration date on the CCF when drug screening for new hires will ensure the applicant is completing the test in a timely manner.
Drug Screening Policy
An employer’s drug screening policy should always mirror their employment background screening policy. The policy should state why the company conducts drug screening for new hires, who is subjected to the screenings, and the type of purpose the employer can use for drug screening (employment, returning to work, post-accident, etc.) Additionally, the employer is urged to include language that they foster and promote a 100% drug free workplace pursuant to federal law (this will deter any discrimination claims based on medical marijuana use).
Type of Specimen to Use
The two most common type of specimen analyzed for substance abuse is urine and hair follicle. Urine specimen is the more common of the two and will reveal drug abuse up to 30 days after use. Hair follicle testing tends to be more expensive; however, it will reveal drug abuse up to 90 days after use. There are other factors employers must take into account when using hair follicle testing.
First and foremost, not all states allow hair follicle testing for employment drug screening for new hires. There is a higher probability of receiving a rejected specimen from hair follicle testing (when there is not enough hair to analyze) as opposed to urine testing.
Positive Results Reviewed By a Medical Review Officer
When an applicant tests positive for substance abuse, the findings must be reviewed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO) before final results are released to the employer. The MRO will conduct an interview with the applicant via phone to discuss the drug screening results, and allow the applicant to provide any documentation or prescription for medication that may result in a positive drug test (i.e. a candidate prescribed antidepressants may cause a false positive test for amphetamine).
If the MRO deems the prescription valid, negative results will be reported. There are times, however, when applicants do not respond to the MRO interview request. When such an instance occurs, the MRO will make three attempts to contact the applicant. If at that point they do not respond, positive results will be released.
Employers Choice Screening offers a wide array of drug testing services through our partners, a nationally recognized drug screening company specializing in testing services. This allows our organization to offer personalized, comprehensive pre-employment drug screening programs, including specimen collection, laboratory coordination, medical review, and test result reporting.