Employee Drug Testing: Is It Time for a Change?

New Survey: 65% of Businesses Have Applicants Who Fail Drug Tests; Tight Labor Market Leads Some to Rethink Practices

With unemployment falling and the demand for workers rising, employers have had to rethink recruiting and hiring practices to find the talent they need to grow their businesses. As a result, some employers are overhauling their drug testing practices based on the belief that overly broad testing eliminates valuable talent from the applicant pool, particularly in states where marijuana has been legalized in some form.

While Express Employment Professionals continues to drug test pursuant to all federal, state, and local laws regarding drug testing, Express franchise owners report some companies in their regions are among those rethinking their procedures, while others are not, despite the labor market pressures.

“There is no one-size-fits-all policy. In each case, the same question arises, ‘How do I deal with medical marijuana and recreational use?'” said Andrea Owens of HourGlass Testing Solutions, drug screening experts who have worked with Express franchise owners. “We have several clients that have multiple locations throughout the U.S. evaluating their drug testing policy.”

It’s easy to see why companies might be evaluating their policies. According to a recent Express survey, the majority of businesses (65%) lose job applicants because of drug test failures. See the full results of the survey below.

What is your company’s drug testing procedure? Do you still consider job candidates who fail drug tests for other positions? Let us know in the comments section below.

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6 Responses to Employee Drug Testing: Is It Time for a Change?

  1. Michael Spinka April 17, 2018 at 7:57 am #


    Is there a breakdown of the industries that represent the ratios illustrated in the picture?

    • Refresh Leadership April 17, 2018 at 8:09 am #

      Hi Michael – This information comes from our quarterly Job Insights Survey. Although we do not ask about specific industries, the results show that the majority of respondents:

      Hold decision-making roles in their companies (87%)
      Represent workforces with “blue-collar” jobs (69%)
      Represent small- to medium-sized companies:
      – 1 to 50 employees: 55%
      – 51 to 100 employees: 18%
      – 101 to 250 employees: 14%
      – 251 to 500 employees: 5%
      – 501+ employees: 7%

      • Michael Spinka April 17, 2018 at 8:18 am #


  2. Holly April 17, 2018 at 8:33 am #

    Put someone on a $100,000 + machine that can kill if they are not alert or drug free??? No thanks! Today’s society is too marshmallow.

  3. Laurie April 17, 2018 at 9:22 am #

    It depends entirely on the job they’re doing. Not everyone is working with dangerous machinery.

  4. Laura Redman April 17, 2018 at 11:11 pm #

    Our employees are working with disabled individuals and if they are not alert or have slow reaction time or impaired judgement due to drugs deaths could happen. We won’t stop drug testing. The issue with marijuana maybe a concentration level could be developed

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