Employee Drug Testing

Drug testing set to increase among office workers

Pre-employment testing is being brought back into public discussion after it was announced that Australian resources and construction companies may soon extend drug testing to their office based staff as employers move towards more egalitarian style workplaces. Employers often use behavioural testing and other selection procedures to screen applicants for hire, and the types of [...]

Pre-employment testing is being brought back into public discussion after it was announced that Australian resources and construction companies may soon extend drug testing to their office based staff as employers move towards more egalitarian style workplaces.

Employers often use behavioural testing and other selection procedures to screen applicants for hire, and the types of tests and selection procedures vary, and can include cognitive tests, personality tests, skills tests, medical examinations, credit checks, and background checks.

Depending on the type of test, employment testing can be conducted either online or in the employer’s office, with pre-employment screening services aimed at determining which applicants are legitimately qualified and fit for the advertised role from those who are not up to task.

Pre-employment checks are often used by employers as a means of objectively evaluating a job candidate’s qualifications, character, fitness, and to identify potential hiring risks for safety and security reasons. As such, risk minimisation is one of the most common reasons for organisations to begin drug and alcohol testing.

Different companies will have different requirements for their employee drug testing program. Options can include pre-employment drug testing, random drug testing, for cause drug testing, post-incident drug testing, target drug testing, annual physical drug testing, pre-promotion drug testing, treatment follow up drug testing and return to work drug testing. However, should it be conducted on office workers?

Managing Director of Employment Office, Tudor Marsden- Huggins, said there was a growing trend towards employers moving to a ‘one size fits all’ approach to ensure all staff were treated equally. “Many employers are questioning whether it’s fair to have one rule for some staff and a different one for others,” Mr Marsden-Huggins said.

“What this means is that everyone from miners and construction workers in high risk areas right through to secretaries and finance staff in generally safer roles at some organisations may have to undergo random drug testing,” he said.
Mr Marsden-Huggins said the issue was causing headaches for human resources staff as they balanced their employee’s right to privacy with the desire to create an equal workplace.

“Whilst drug testing in high risk roles is accepted as necessary for health and safety reasons, I expect some office workers may question if it is justified for their particular position such as those working behind a computer all day,” Mr Marsden-Huggins said.

“Unfortunately drug use is a problem in Australia and HR departments must tread carefully to balance the right to privacy with creating healthy, happy and productive workforces,” Mr Marsden- Huggins said.

Ultimately though, pre-employment testing such as drug testing will increase the likelihood of you securing supreme quality, skills-matched candidates that are going to be an idyllic culture fit and enduring assets – saving you time and money long term.