background checks pre-employment drug screening

3 Ways Pre-Employment Drug Testing Reduces Employee Turnover

In 2011, for the first time, drug overdose deaths in the US exceeded the number of motor vehicle fatalities, showing that drug abuse is becoming more and more prevalent in our society.  Throughout the past 16 years, the list of states with more deaths caused by drug overdoses than motor vehicles has grown from four to 39. Employees who do drugs often have a greater turnover rate, costing employers fiscally.  Pre-employment drug testing is a way to limit turnover, by detecting which applicants are likely to miss work, raise insurance premiums, have performance issues and ultimately have a higher separation rate due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.        

Workflow and Cost Efficiency        

The Department of Labor states that the average cost of turnover is equal to 150% of the annual salary of an exempt employee.  SHRM has the lowest rate with $3,500 to replace one $8 per hour employee. These costs include recruiting, interviewing, hiring, training, reduced productivity, and business costs.  Pre-employment drug testing identifies prospective employees likely to demonstrate substance abuse issues on the job, reducing the chance of hiring unreliable workers while improving the potential longevity of the workforce.   

Identifying Employees Subject to Untimely Separation       

Identifying these employees prior to hiring benefits your company; culturally, operationally and fiscally.  About 75% of the nation's substance abusers maintain employment, though this does not mean they maintain occupational longevity. Pre-employment drug testing is a dependable method of saving time and money, while improving performance. 

Favorable Legal Environment       

Pre-employment drug testing is increasingly a condition for employment as is continued testing (random, reasonable suspicion, post accident), causing legal questions about screening prospective employees.  Opponents contend screening violates individuals' Fourth Amendment rights, wherein drug testing is an unwarranted search of person.  Despite arguments that the collection and analysis of biological samples constitute personal searches subject to Fourth Amendment protection, a number of compelling interests are served by testing.  The US Supreme Court has ruled that requiring employees to produce urine samples constitutes a "search" within the means of the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution.  It is critical that testing is handled with the proper protocol by your compliance specialist, then your company is protected legally.

Benefits of Pre-employment Testing        

In addition to improving the bottom line for firms small to large, pre-employment drug testing provides measurable health and safety benefits.  Rather than off-site testing, implementing on-premise tests removes the opportunity to have the potential employee substituted at the testing site, stop to purchase an adulteration, or cause addition liability for the company.  In-house mobile testing generates greater company control of testing processes, and reduces the time an employee is away from work.

  • Evidence suggests pre-employment testing will result in:
  • lower employee turnover,
  • increased employee productivity,
  • diminished absenteeism,
  • lower costs for workman's compensation,
  • decreased health insurance expenses, and
  • improved workplace safety.

Regarding legal regulations governing pre-employment testing privacy concerns are understandable; drug testing must be enacted with due cause and according to proper protocol, by your compliance specialist.   Prospective employees can refuse to be tested; pre-screening is voluntary.  The fact a job may be withheld if one refuses testing, for the company the larger concern is for safety and company liability.   In the climate of today's society pre-employment testing is both beneficial and necessary.

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