When an employer decides to implement a drug and alcohol testing program, the requirements and procedures prior to receiving the results are often discussed as part of the implementation of the program. However, the process after the results are received often remains uncertain, as this step is not typically reviewed at the onset of the program.
It is important to understand the entire process of the drug testing program from start to finish. What comes after the test results are received is just as crucial to ensure a bona fide program is in place.
Depending on state or federal law, and company policy, there are various steps an employer should take after a test result is reported by the Medical Review Officer. These steps may include but are not limited to the following:
- Inform the applicant/employee of the test result
- Provide them with a copy of the test result
- Inform them of their right to explain the positive result
- Provide the opportunity to request a confirmation retest of the original sample
- The consequences of the test result
In this article we will highlight the result notification requirements using several state laws as examples.
There are a number of states and cities that have mandatory or voluntary result notification requirements. It is advised that a written notice of positive test results be provided, but some states may also require written notice of a negative test result as well. In addition, there may be a specific time frame wherein an employer must report the test result. A few examples of states with mandatory laws include:
- Connecticut requires an employer to provide the applicant with a copy of any positive drug test result and the notice must include the actual positive test result report.
- Iowa requires employers to provide a notice to employees and applicants who receive a confirmed positive test result.
- Maryland requires employers to notify employees and applicants (in person or by certified mail) within 30 days of the positive test result.
- Minnesota requires employers to notify employees and applicants in writing of both positive and negative results within 3 days of receipt of the result.
A sampling of states that have voluntary laws regarding notification of test results include:
- Alabama requires an employer to provide written notice to the applicant or employee within five (5) days of a verified positive test result.
- Florida mandates an employer to provide written notification of a confirmed positive test result within five (5) days of receipt of the result.
- Georgia requires an employer to provide a written notice within five (5) days of receipt of verified positive test results to both applicants and employees.
The above are just a few examples of state specific requirements for result notification. Employers are advised to review the state laws that apply to them to ensure that their drug testing program meets all applicable legal requirements.
In the absence of specific regulations or guidelines, it is recommended that all options be clearly outlined in the company policy and followed carefully. As a consideration to employees, and for ease of managing the testing program, an employer may follow a more stringent reporting requirement and provide written notification of test results to applicants and employees when the law does not specify any reporting requirements.
Note: This is a guest blog from our partner Current Consulting Group. The team at CCG provides a comprehensive suite of operations, sales, marketing and program development services to screening companies and their clients. As with all our blogs, this is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice.