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Does a drug charge always warrant a drug screen?

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Q. If we see in the local paper that one of our employees has been charged with possession of an illegal sub­­stance, is that enough cause to have him take a drug screen? – Ed, Nebraska

A. That depends entirely upon whether the employee works in a state that has a drug testing law that limits when an employer may request a drug test.

You are asking whether news of a recent drug-related arrest constitutes “reasonable suspicion” to request a test, as that term is used in many state drug-testing ordinances. In Nebraska, as in many states, the law requires employers take certain steps to ensure the accuracy of a drug-testing program, but does not limit the circumstances in which you may request a test.

Unless the employee is subject to a more protective collective bargaining agreement that limits when you may test, you should be able to use the news of a recent arrest as reason to request a drug test in this case. Check your state law.

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