Can I Drug Test My Employees?

Can I Drug Test My Employees?


Drug testing employees can take place but a few things should happen prior to testing. A written drug policy helps cover both employer and employee to ensure it follows federal, state and local laws and regulations. Learn about the regulations surrounding employee drug testing and how to go about doing it in the workplace.



There are some benefits to testing employees for drugs and alcohol. Some of the benefits of drug testing may include the following:

  • Decreased incidence of injury
  • Fewer sick days
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced incidences of damage
  • Reduced risk of losing company equipment to theft or other incidences
  • Reduced quantity of Worker’s Comp claims


Written Drug Testing Policy

Not all states have a written drug testing policy but those that do provide a helpful guide for employers. A written drug testing policy demonstrates planning and budgeting from a human resources perspective. This also shows employees what is involved in drug testing. The guide serves as a resource for anyone with questions about the process in the workplace. Drug testing policies should:

  • Be written with the help of legal council
  • Not take the place of legal advice from a lawyer
  • Utilize a lawyer to help people navigate drug testing laws


Drug Testing Laws

Different drug testing laws exist state by state. Iowa, for example, implemented the Act to Regulate the Circumstance and Procedure Under Which an Employer May Request a Drug Test of An Employee or an Applicant for Employment. The act allowed for testing if “probable cause to believe an employee is in a position where such impairments present a danger to safety of employee, another employee, a member of the public, or property of the employer or when impairment to effects of a controlled substance is a violation of a known rule of employer.”


Other states do not have straightforward resources for employees. Because it varies state by state, it helps to identify what the laws say and consult an attorney for support in developing appropriate guidelines.


Cost of Testing

Many variables play into cost of implementing a drug testing policy. The following are just a few of the variables:

  • Type of drug tests samples required
  • Urinalysis is not the only way to test
  • Select types of testing to be done (hair, saliva, urine)
  • Size of the company (cost is calculated per test)


One major cost of drug testing implementation  is whether the company will follow established guidelines or create ones from scratch. The cost of drug testing policies can be offset by cost savings down the road of not employing individuals who steal time, money, products, services or or otherwise lessen the impact of the company’s products and services in the marketplace. A company will need to take many things into consideration when looking at drug testing policies including state guidelines and advice of legal counsel to support appropriate implementation.


The Villa provides resources and information to families and individuals seeking support for addiction. If you or a loved one need help dealing with substance or drug abuse, call us to find out how we can help you on the path to recovery.