Drug and alcohol testing continue to be a critical part of the hiring process for most employers, as found by HireRight’s recently released 2013 Employment Screening Benchmarking Report.
For the second year in a row, 78% of the organizations surveyed reported performing drug and alcohol tests on their workforce, an impressive increase from just 69% in 2011. This strong year-over-year trend can likely be attributed to employers’ understanding of the serious and negative consequences of workplace drug use and abuse.
Employers Strengthening Drug-Free Workplace Policies
Most employers are focusing their drug testing efforts on job candidates—90% of respondents reported that applicants are subject to drug testing, just as they did the previous year. What is particularly interesting is that more organizations are requiring drug testing of current employees.
This year, 71% of survey respondents indicated that current employees are subject to drug or alcohol testing, an increase of 5% over the previous year, and one that is potentially representative of strengthened initiatives to maintain drug-free workplaces.
The Report reveals, furthermore, that simply performing drug tests prior to a worker’s first day may not be enough for many employers.
Many organizations believe that conducting drug tests on a random drug screening basis and upon reasonable suspicion could further enhance the safety of their organizations. Since 2011, such testing has increased by 24% and 14%, respectively.
The most common type of drug test continues to be urine (95%), not surprising given its ease of test administration, relative cost-effectiveness, and acceptance by most subjects. The popularity of breath alcohol tests continues to grow, with a jump from 16% to 42% from 2011 to 2013.
Employers continue to use saliva-, blood-, and hair-based testing sparingly. Similar to last year, 91% of drug and alcohol tests are done in a collection lab, while 24% are done on-site.
Employers Reluctant to Accept Medical Marijuana
Marijuana continues to a debated topic for employers, as several states have approved its medical use. Additionally, in the November 2012 elections, the recreational use of marijuana was passed in two states. Still, federal law prohibits all types of use, and most employers are maintaining zero-tolerance policies for all types of marijuana.
The number of organizations that have a medical marijuana policy recognizing the differences between medical and unauthorized use has decreased slightly from 14% to 12% in the past year. This further shows that most organizations are reluctant to demonstrate acceptance of medical marijuana use.
Interestingly, those employers that have a medical marijuana policy are not necessarily accepting its use. These organizations are still taking adverse action against those who test positive for medical marijuana.
Data from 2013 show that 63% of respondents do so with job candidates and 56% do so with current employees. This further instills the fact that only a very minimal number of employers are actually approving the use of medical marijuana.