Employers’ views changing in testing of marijuana, other drugs

One of the most important U.S. drug-testing laboratories has analyzed its thousands and thousands of urine drug take a look at outcomes by trade for the primary time, and located the 2 industries with the best price of constructive take a look at outcomes for marijuana have been additionally two that must cope with shoppers.

Some 5.3 p.c of assessments given to retail commerce staff and 4.7 p.c of these given to well being care and social help staff got here again constructive, in accordance with an evaluation by Quest Diagnostics.

The evaluation, which comes from inspecting greater than 10 million take a look at outcomes which might be half of the lab firm’s Drug Testing Index, discovered that 5 of 16 industries noticed double-digit will increase in the speed of constructive take a look at outcomes between 2015 and 2017.

They included not solely retail however transportation and warehousing, finance and insurance coverage and wholesale commerce, exhibiting a rise in constructive take a look at outcomes at a time when extra states are loosening restrictions on pot use and extra firms are mentioned to be loosening drug testing restrictions amid low unemployment.

Barry Sample, the senior director of science and know-how for Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions, mentioned the outcomes of the brand new evaluation didn’t shock him.

“We’ve been reporting year-over-year increases of the positivity rates for almost all three of these illicit drug classes,” he mentioned, referring to marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamines. “As we break it out by industry, we’re seeing a number of industries with those same results.”

Still, the speed of development stood out. The retail trade, for example, noticed a 43 p.c improve in constructive take a look at outcomes for cocaine between 2015 and 2017, Quest’s evaluation confirmed. Eight sectors noticed no less than 20 p.c will increase in constructive marijuana take a look at outcomes over the identical interval, as extra states loosened legal guidelines limiting the drug.

“Clearly I think that there are likely some attitudinal changes with respect to marijuana, which may be driving some of the increases we’re seeing,” he mentioned.

However, Sample mentioned that it might be a mistake to attribute the rise fully to statute modifications. Even in states with relaxed legal guidelines, he mentioned, the speed of change in constructive take a look at outcomes was usually on par with the nationwide common.

Before movie-driven pictures of a stoned retailer clerk come to thoughts, it’s essential to notice such information doesn’t essentially measure present impairment. The take a look at outcomes measure use of the drug, not essentially use of the drug at work, and with pot, in explicit, the drug’s byproducts can keep in an individual’s system and be detected even weeks after use.

But some labor attorneys say the legalization of marijuana use — 10 states and Washington, D.C., enable for leisure use of pot, whereas 33 states and the District have legalized it for medical use — is having an enormous impact on how employers view worker use of the drug.

“What I see employers doing is evaluating the positions, asking, ‘Is this really a safety-sensitive position?’ ” mentioned Erin McLaughlin, a labor and employment lawyer with Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney based mostly in Pittsburgh. “If it’s not, then there are more employers who are taking the position, ‘Let’s not test for marijuana.’ ”

She believes the tight labor market can also be clearly enjoying a task.

“Absolutely, I think in positions where there is a labor shortage right now and employers are looking for candidates for jobs that don’t have safety-sensitive issues or aren’t federally regulated (to require testing), I definitely think employers are eliminating drug testing as a whole when it comes to hiring applicants,” she mentioned.

She pointed to the development trade, the place there are huge labor shortages, and mentioned she’d seen it with some retail purchasers. “Quite frankly, for jobs like a cashier, a sales associate — many of them don’t do drug testing at all, especially considering the labor shortage.”

James Reidy, a labor and employment lawyer with Sheehan Phinney in New Hampshire, mentioned he’s seeing comparable responses.

“A lot of companies are recognizing if I drug test at the post-offer, pre-employment position, I’m going to lose out on people,” he mentioned.

As perceptions shift and authorized use of marijuana turns into extra widespread, he mentioned, “it’s really become the new ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ ” with many employers preferring to not learn about an worker’s use. “If he’s got a positive drug test, and you knew,” Reidy mentioned of an worker later who may later have a security accident, “it’s in your system.”

Quest’s Sample mentioned the lab firm’s attrition price of employers ending drug assessments with the corporate has really been exhibiting decreases, that quantity will not be down, and that in states the place leisure use is allowed, they have been solely seeing minor drops in the proportion of employers who included marijuana in their panel of drug assessments.

But he mentioned his information was not capable of element whether or not some employers could also be shifting which teams of new candidates or workers they take a look at, and that what employers do with the take a look at outcomes after they’ve them could also be shifting.

“The economy is robust and people are still hiring,” he mentioned. “It’s harder to find qualified candidates and those employers may be opting to change how they view a positive test for marijuana.”

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