Are drug companies and safety experts shaking in their boots?

Is drug testing disappearing across the country?

I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about drug testing. I mentioned attitudes toward drug testing were changing as a result of the legalization of marijuana in a number of states and jurisdictions. He told me his company was considering such a move because they are in a number of locations across the company and they wanted to have one consistent policy. They wanted to make sure they were being “fair”. I did not go further with the conversation, after all, it was a Saturday night and I did not want to be talking “shop.” But, that is not an unusual situation for companies to be finding themselves in as a result of the legalization of marijuana.

Thing of the past?

Influential attorney and writer, Robin Shea of Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP, asks the question Will drug testing become a thing of the past? Shea, in talking about a BNA report, said that there are two reasons that drug testing is starting to diminish. The first of these is indeed the changing legal structure across the country. The second reason is that good employees are getting harder to find in a tight labor market. I guess “good” employees in many areas are inclined to take a “toke.”

Before you fold your program

Shea says there are several things that need to be considered before you close down your drug testing program. These include:

Safety still counts

Even though marijuana may be legal it still impairs performance. So for positions where safety is critical, such as operating machinery or driving a car, make sure you continue to test in safety-critical positions.

Federal law still counts

Despite state legislation, under federal law marijuana is still illegal. If you are a federal contractor you may not have the same “freedoms” that non-contractors may have.

Don’t forget jobs that are required to be drug tested

Some jobs require drug testing, such as transportation or aviation, regardless of what state law says.

Drug testing can result in saved money

Many state programs offer a discount on your workers’ compensation premium. Sometimes that savings can be substantial.

Consider keeping your program with modifications

There are several modifications you can make to your program. First, you can eliminate marijuana testing completely, though Shea recommends you keep it in place for safety-sensitive positions. Second, continue to test for Schedule 1 drugs.

Post-accident

She also recommends you keep testing “for cause” or post-accident.

Just remember, these laws, do not require any employer to allow an employee to have to work will in an impaired state. Just like we would not let an employee work while impaired by alcohol, we do not have to allow an employee to be impaired by any drug, including marijuana.

Omega HR Solutions, Inc. uses creative human resource solutions to provide answers to time, money and service issues with employers and their employees. Visit our Products and Services page for more information or contact us to learn how we can help your organization.

 

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Michael D. Haberman is Vice-President and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc., a consulting and services company offering complete human resources solutions. Prior to Omega HR Solutions Mike founded MDH Consulting, a Human Resources consulting firm working with small to mid-sized companies. Before consulting he held positions in HR management at two Atlanta based corporations. Mike has a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside; a Master's of Science in Industrial Relations from Georgia State University and is certified both as a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) and SHRM-SCP. He is currently a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, where he has served on the official Blogger Squad for the last 5 national conferences. He is also a member of the Atlanta-SHRM chapter. He is the author of a Human Resources blog found at Omega HR Solutions, Inc. which has been recognized several times as a top blog in human resources. His blog is republished in several other publications and he has been selected as one of six HR bloggers to be featured on the online version of Human Resources Executive Magazine. He has also written for the blog sites Workology and ESkill. He has been named a top digital influencers in Human Resources. He also writes extensively on the future of work and HR. He has gained a reputation as a compliance expert. He speaks on a variety of subjects to business associations and business based civic clubs. He presents webinars on a monthly basis on a variety of HR subjects. He has also spoken on a national basis on the subject of HR futurism and the things that HR departments need to be prepared for in the year 2020 and beyond. On the educational front he has been teaching HR certification preparation for over 18 years, currently for the University of Georgia.

Michael Haberman

Michael D. Haberman is Vice-President and co-founder of Omega HR Solutions, Inc., a consulting and services company offering complete human resources solutions. Prior to Omega HR Solutions Mike founded MDH Consulting, a Human Resources consulting firm working with small to mid-sized companies. Before consulting he held positions in HR management at two Atlanta based corporations. Mike has a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Riverside; a Master's of Science in Industrial Relations from Georgia State University and is certified both as a Senior Professional of Human Resources (SPHR) and SHRM-SCP. He is currently a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, where he has served on the official Blogger Squad for the last 5 national conferences. He is also a member of the Atlanta-SHRM chapter. He is the author of a Human Resources blog found at Omega HR Solutions, Inc. which has been recognized several times as a top blog in human resources. His blog is republished in several other publications and he has been selected as one of six HR bloggers to be featured on the online version of Human Resources Executive Magazine. He has also written for the blog sites Workology and ESkill. He has been named a top digital influencers in Human Resources. He also writes extensively on the future of work and HR. He has gained a reputation as a compliance expert. He speaks on a variety of subjects to business associations and business based civic clubs. He presents webinars on a monthly basis on a variety of HR subjects. He has also spoken on a national basis on the subject of HR futurism and the things that HR departments need to be prepared for in the year 2020 and beyond. On the educational front he has been teaching HR certification preparation for over 18 years, currently for the University of Georgia.

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