Drug Testing Procedure - New Hire Applicants

I did a search of this Board and other HR sites, but couldn't find much info. We're doing a major re-vamp of our employee handbook, which includes putting policies in place that we've never addressed before now. One of them is substance abuse and drug testing. I've contacted an outside lab who will perform drug testing for us, and I've created the substance abuse policy. But, what I need to document now are the actual drug testing procedures, specifically for new hire applicants.

I believe that the applicant needs to have the test performed within a reasonable period of time (48 hours?), but not sure where I can find more info about establishing these procedures.

I do plan to work with our outside employment attorney to ensure all that we've pulled together is legally compliant. However, if anyone has recommendations on websites or agencies that can help provide more detailed information drug testing and the procedures for testing, I would appreciate the assistance!


  • 13 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • We generally require within 24 hours of acceptance of offer. However, if the accept on a Friday afternoon, I will allow them to go on Monday as the facility we use is not open on Saturdays.

  • We also require applicants to be tested within 24 hours of job offer. They are given a custody and control form to take to the lab. We receive negative results usually within 24 hours. Positive results take longer because the Medical Review Officer will make 3 attempts to contact the applicant so he/she can offer a possible explanation for the positive result - to-date, they never have been able to provide a medical reason for having drug(s)in their system. Positive results are relayed to the store manager by our in-house drug/alcohol policy administrator who calls the manager. We do not email or send any hard copy results to managers in order to retain confidentiality. Sorry couldn't find a good website real fast, but must be something out there on the Internet.

  • I don't trust the question.
  • Don - ??
    Not sure what you don't trust?
  • Sorry; maybe I was having a moment. Don't give people any longer than 'immediately' to go take their pre-employment drug screen. I've never heard of anybody giving them a window in which to mosey on down to the lab. Tell them their hire is contingent on a negative, hand them the referral form, give them directions and tell them to go there now, don't swing by the house, don't go by Kroger, don't stop at the park to feed the ducks. If you find they did not proceed to the test site as directed, withdraw the offer. This does not need to be stated in a written policy.
  • Thanks, Don. The odd thing is the lab we've selected doesn't have a referral form, nor do they have any instructions we can hand to the applicant. They've told me simply that an applicant make an appointment or just walk in, bring a picture i.d. and they'll do the testing. I wanted to have a procedure that we in HR follow here, not added to a policy. I guess I assumed #-o
    silly me - that the testing company would be more structured and provide us with these kinds of details.

    Thank you to everyone who replied, I appreciate your assistance!x:-)
  • Let me have your email address and I will fax you our new policy that will take affect 1/1/04. (We are also contracting with a national lab (Quest Diagnostics) and have an MRO who handles all non-negative test results for all our locations. (Sent to him by the lab.)

    E Wart
  • I sent you an e-mail. Thank you! xclap
  • The lab is required to use a 'custody and control form'. Typically the lab will give the employer a supply of forms that can serve the referral purpose. If not, I would make up my own, just a memo referral form telling the lab to test and what panel to use and whether DOT or non-DOT. The bottom line, pursuant to your question, is that if the person dilly dallies and doesn't go right away, they jeopardize their chance of being hired. They don't need a large reporting window if they want a job.
  • I inform applicants they have 24 hours in which to take the drug test. I do NOT make job offers on Fridays because I do NOT want the applicant to have an opportunity to go to the local GNC, or any other store, to pick up any of the litany of items that claim to be able to assist someone pass a drug test. I like Don's idea about sending them directly from my office and may do so in the future. Don, do you call them in for a 2nd interview with plans to make the offer to them at that point?
  • Typically, hourly employees are sitting there when we offer them a job. In that case, they get the form and proceed to the collection site. With salaried, if the offer is broached via email or phone, I tell them to come to the office to get a written offer letter and at that point, treat them the same way.
  • [font size="1" color="#FF0000"]LAST EDITED ON 11-12-03 AT 09:39AM (CST)[/font][br][br]We always believe this is best done immediately once an offer is made and the person cannot begin working until clearing the drug screen.
    Contracting with one lab and a reputable MRO service will save you a lot of headaches. When you have a good MRO service they can answer a lot of the questions on the legal aspects.

  • Ours is also 24 hours. They are told, it's on the form they are given. No go - no job. It's interesting how many people don't follow the instruction are flabbergasted when we pull the offer - and amazed they have to wait a minimum of six months to reapply!
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