Do you save costs by choosing in-house workplace drug testing?

“In today’s increasingly litigious society, the perceived cost savings of an in-house drug testing program could quickly be negated…”

The one answer that has been noted is the perceived cost savings. What employers may not consider are the consequences that this decision could have on their business. In today’s increasingly litigious society, the perceived cost savings of an in-house drug testing program could quickly be negated by the costs of attorney’s fees, awards for discrimination settlements and wrongful termination settlements. Another dynamic that employers often neglect to consider in the decision-making process is the effect such a program has on the employer/employee relationship. The loss of respect for the tester may remain throughout the individual’s employment. Taking these implications into consideration is important before an employer makes the decision to use in-house testing.

To begin, let’s look at why employers may perceive that having their drug-testing program done in-house is a huge cost saving. They can purchase cheap tests from Internet websites and provide little to no training to the employees responsible for administering the collection. They can alternatively purchase tests from an outside company that comes in and trains its employees. What happens when those employees move on? What if the employees have compromised ethics? What happens if their testing procedures are inconsistent because they do not perform tests often enough to remember all the steps? Or, what happens when an employee refutes the validity of the testing procedure or results?

Terminating an employee based on the results of one of these possibly tainted test results could lead to wrongful termination or a discrimination lawsuit. In an article by John Freeman on wrongful termination settlements, he states that “the average wrongful termination can range from $100,000 to a million dollars.” This type of settlement will quickly negate any perceived cost savings.

Following are notable statistics that highlight the impact of substance abuse on the workplace:

Full-time workers age 18–49 who reported current illicit drug use were more likely than those reporting no current illicit drug use to state that they had worked for three or more employers in the past year (32.1 per cent versus 17.9 per cent), taken an unexcused absence from work in the past month (12.1 per cent versus 6.1 per cent), voluntarily led an employer in the past year (25.8 per cent versus 13.6 per cent, and been fired by an employer in the past year (4.6 per cent versus 1.4 per cent). Similar results were reported for employees who were heavy alcohol users.

Why it make sense to outsource?

With all of the ways employees can find for fighting employers on the validity of testing, it makes sense for employers to outsource their employee drug testing programs to professionals. Drug testing companies offer employers one-step removal from the testing process that may help to protect them in a court of law.

For more information on our Workplace Drug Testing Service, please click here.

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