Will additional drug testing become the rule?

For plenty of employers, it’s a safety issue.

Routine drug testing helps ensure they’re providing a safe work environment and protecting their workers. Even with changes regarding drugs like marijuana, drug testing remains high on the list of priorities.

So, would more drug testing be a good idea?

A new Department of Labor proposal suggests that drug testing could happen even post-employment.

The Department of Labor proposal would give states the ability to test people applying for unemployment benefits. States would be able to establish their own drug testing policy. Currently, some states do have some restrictions, and unemployment benefits are minimal for those who lose their job due to drug use.

But the proposed rule would mean that almost anyone seeking unemployment benefits could be subject to drug testing, depending on what each state decides.

A chorus of critics say more testing isn’t just unnecessary—it’s unconstitutional.

The ACLU came out solidly against the proposal, saying the current law is adequate. Their experts believe “blanket drug testing” would discourage people from applying for benefits and that drug testing should only be done with probable cause and suspicion. These changes represent not only excessive additional expense to the states, say the ACLU experts, but an unconstitutional change.

Other experts echoed some of those ideas, saying the proposal was a bad idea; regular drug testing would keep people from the unemployment money they deserve.

“People who need benefits have to go through a lot more regulatory hurdles than they have in the past, and this is just another regulatory hurdle for them,” said Michele Evermore, senior researcher and policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project in this recent ThinkProgress article.

What do you think?

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