Can My Business Randomly Drug Test in California?

Can My Business Randomly Drug Test in California?

As a business owner in California, you may be wondering whether you can randomly drug test your employees and the short answer is no, you cannot. California is a state that really values an employee’s right to privacy, so it is very difficult to conduct drug testing in the workplace. There are a few circumstances where there are exceptions to this rule, but they are really exceptions and it is rare that you will be able to meet the criteria to legally drug test your staff. If you’d like to learn more about when you can randomly drug test your employees, or times where it is possible to conduct drug testing, read on to learn more:

When Can You Randomly Drug Test Your Employees In California
California drug testing laws allow random drug testing in two circumstances – the first being for federal positions, such as the department of transit – better known as DOT. These jobs and other federal jobs such as working for the police, require that the employee be working at their optimum level, so that their ability to perform their work is not impaired by any substances. For that reason, it is possible to drug test and do random drug testing. Because these are federal positions, there is already a strict set of rules around drug testing that you can consult your HR department about.

For businesses in the private sector, there is only one circumstance where random drug testing is a possibility. This is if your employee’s job is considered to be ‘safety sensitive’ which means that any impairment in their ability to perform their job correctly could result in some form of health and safety risk to either themselves or to others. How you can define this position varies state by state, but the best thing to do is to read the legislation and the example of positions that this would apply to, and see whether it’s relevant for any of your employees. If it is, then you need to inform them of that in advance and what changes it means for them in terms of drug testing. It can be a good idea to consult with your HR team or to seek legal advice as to how to best handle this. However do remember that this is meant to be an exception to the rule, so it’s best to proceed with caution.

Pre-Employment Drug Testing in California
This is basically the ‘easiest’ time to seek drug testing for your employees – however it has to be done between the period of giving your candidate a formal job offer and before they actually start with their work duties. It’s a short window of time in which it is very easy to drug test and to see whether your candidate has any substances in their system. You don’t need any grounds for suspicion or to prove anything, it is just an option for you during the hiring process. If you’d like peace of mind about your future employee, it may be worth doing this. Due to the legalization of cannabis in the State of California, it’s no longer possible to include marijuana or its metabolites in a pre-employment drug screening test.

Suspicion Based Testing
In the State of California, you can drug test your employees based on suspicions that your employee is using drugs. However these suspicions need to be based on facts – noticeable changes in your employee’s state or ability to perform their job. It is sometimes a good idea to undertake training in a local lab to be able to recognise these changes yourself or have one of your staff members become trained to notice the subtle changes.

So while random drug testing is not really available to the majority of employers in the private sector, there are a few situations where you can conduct drug testing. For more information, be sure to check out the local legislation to ensure you’re working with the most current information.