Pre-employment drug tests may help limit employer liability and contribute to creating a safe workplace. But how do they work, exactly? Are they legal in California? In today’s blog, we tell you everything you need to know about pre-employment drug tests in California.
What Are Pre-Employment Drug Tests?
Pre-employment drug tests are tests used to determine whether a prospective employee uses illicit drugs or abuses prescription drugs.
Drug testing is important because statistics show that nearly 9% of all employed adults in the United States (approximately 13.6 million workers) have current alcohol or illicit drug use disorders.
Plus, an equivalent number of workers (approximately 13.4 million) report that they are in recovery or have recovered from a substance use problem.
What Are the Different Types of Drug Tests?
Different types of samples can be analyzed in a pre-employment drug test, including urine, hair, and oral fluid.
Urine drug tests show if the person has used drugs over the previous three days. Hair drug tests, on the other hand, can reveal if a person has used drugs up to 90 days before the test.
Finally, the detection window for oral fluid tests is five to 48 hours.
Are Pre-Employment Drug Tests Legal in California?
In general, California courts have determined that an employer can require employees to pass a drug test as a condition of employment. However, the test must take place only after the candidate has received a job offer but before they start working.
It’s important to note that employers must test all applicants for a particular position, without singling out certain candidates for testing on the basis of characteristics such as race or disabilities.
This is known as “suspicionless drug testing” because it’s applied as a general requirement to all applicants, not because an employer believes that a certain candidate abuses illegal substances.
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