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Nearly 8 in 10 employers screen for alcohol, drugs

According to HireRight’s 2013 Employment Screening Benchmarking Report, 78% of respondents overall conduct drug testing on some portion of their workforce.

This number jumps dramatically in the transportation industry (98%), which has additional regulatory requirements.

The 2013 report is based on survey results from more than 1,600 respondents, including human resource, security and other management professionals in a wide range of industries and organization sizes. Both HireRight customers and noncustomers were surveyed.

Overall, 19% of respondents do not conduct drug or alcohol tests and have no plans to; 3% do not conduct tests but plan to do so.

Most organizations (90%) are screening job candidates, and 71% also screen current employees. Thirty-two percent screen contingent or temporary workers.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents require these tests before the first day of work, 61% give them upon reasonable suspicion, and 59% do so when investigating an accident. Eight percent conduct testing immediately after an employee’s start date, and 4% do so with a transfer or promotion.

Types of tests vary from urine (95%) and breath alcohol (42%) to saliva (11%), blood (7%) and hair (7%). Most tests (91%) are conducted in a collection lab, but almost one-quarter of respondents (24%) said they use some form of onsite testing, too. Four percent use a mobile lab.

Testing for marijuana

Legal marijuana in the workplace has become a hot-button topic, with 18 states and the District of Columbia approving the medical use of marijuana. And in November 2012 voters in Colorado and Washington state approved its recreational use. Federal law still prohibits all types of marijuana use.

Just 12% of respondents indicated they have a medical marijuana policy, while another 10% plan to create one. Among those respondents who have such a policy, not all are necessarily taking adverse action against those who test positive: 63% do so with job candidates, and 56% do so with employees.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him on Twitter @SHRMRoy.

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