Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing

Reasonable suspicion testing is performed when supervisors have evidence or reasonable cause to suspect an employee of drug use. The evidence is based on direct observation, either by a supervisor or another employee.

Reasons for Reasonable Suspicion Testing

  • physical evidence of illicit substances;
  • direct observation of drug use;
  • patterns of erratic or abnormal behavior;
  • disorientation or confusion;
  • evidence that the employee possessed, sold, solicited, or transferred drugs while working or at work;
  • an inability to complete routine tasks.

Supervisor Training

This type of drug testing requires careful, comprehensive supervisor training to ensure consistent application of the program across the workforce. Employers with safety-sensitive employees subject to federally-mandated testing are provided with definitions of suspicious behavior and given specific steps to follow to administer reasonable suspicion testing. Employers in the general workforce are responsible for creating and administering their own drug testing guidelines and policies.

Testing Prevalence

In 2014, reasonable suspicion testing in the US comprised only 0.6 percent of the general workforce urine tests in and 0.2 percent of tests in the federally-mandated workforce. Pre-employment and random drug testing constituting the majority of testing volumes (around 90 percent), other testing reasons are often used to fill specific needs.

Designing a Drug Screening Policy

When designing a non-regulated drug screening plan, the employer should consider not only the basics like who and when to test but a few other questions such as,

  • what happens if a sample is out of temperature range?
  • what happens if it’s not negative?
  • should you include observed collection?
  • what happens if an employee refuses observed collection?

In regards to reasonable suspicion, there needs to be a method in place to document the suspicious activity and a clear statement of what actions will be taken. Reasonable suspicion determinations some of the most challenging aspects of a drug-free workplace program, yet they can have a profound impact on safety, well-being, and productivity.

For workplace drug and alcohol testing that meets all DOT testing requirements, contact your nearest Test Smartly Labs today!

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