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November 13, 2014

News Reports Say Positive Employee Drug Tests On the Rise

Filed under: Drugs,Hiring & Jobs2:26 pm

A national employment law firm news site is reporting that the rate of employee positive drug tests has increased for the first time in about a decade. The entity making the study handles drug testing from employers all across the country. The study indicated that use of marijuana and amphetamines have fueled the increase, notably in the states of Colorado and Washington where recreational marijuana use is now legal under state law.  You can read the news report here.

With the voters in two more states, Alaska and Oregon, along with Washington D.C. recently passing recreational use of marijuana, we aren’t likely to hear the end of this topic any time soon.  Keep your eye on this subject, as other states have pending legislation.



April 12, 2013

HR Fact Friday: EEOC Expresses Views on Drug Testing

Filed under: Drugs6:00 am

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently filed suit against a company and alleged that the company went too far with its drug testing policies. That lawsuit resulted in a settlement with the company paying $750,000. The settlement included a requirement that prohibited the company from “conducting employee drug screens that are not job-related or consistent with business necessity.” You can read about this lawsuit, and the settlement terms, here:

Thus, if you are drug testing and/or acting on those results, you want to show that you have a legitimate business reason to test (i.e. you are not simply doing it in an effort to ferret out medical information about employees) and you want to document that there were legitimate business reasons for discharging/disciplining an employee based on the results of those tests. This is especially true if the positive test results are for prescription drugs, rather than illegal drugs. For example, in a related note, a federal court in Pennsylvania recently dismissed an EEOC lawsuit challenging an employer’s practice of conducting random drug testing because the court found that the random tests served the legitimate business interests of ensuring safety in safety-sensitive positions.

HRN Performance Solutions provides background check services that include a full range of selections including drug screening/testing, criminal record, DMV report and credit history. To learn more about these services go to the HRN website by


May 4, 2012

HR Fact Friday: Make Every Hire a “Good Hire”

Filed under: Drugs,Hiring & Jobs9:16 am

A key function of human resource professionals is staff recruitment and on-boarding. Yet the hiring process is risky. Finding and hiring qualified candidates to fill positions—from entry level to senior executive is a costly, time-consuming and highly important process that does not end with a signed employment offer. Employees that don’t work out result in inefficiencies, staff stress, and lost productivity.

How job candidates conduct themselves in an interview can only provide a limited amount of information on which to base such an important decision. How can a hiring manager better ensure that the candidate they select and extend an employment offer will be a ‘good hire’? One way is to gather additional data on candidates that can help predict if their personality traits will make them a good fit for the position. Employees who are selected based on face-to-face impression and evaluation tests perform better and stay at their jobs longer.

The HRN Performance Solutions has partnered with Profiles International, a leader in pre-employment assessments, to offer self-administered, online pre-employment assessment products at volume pricing that will improve the selection and retention of high quality employees.

The following pre-employment assessment tools are available through HRN:

  • Profiles XT – Predicts overall fit for a position and is the most technologically advanced, state-of-the-art system available today for measuring human potential and predicting job performance. It is the only system that measures thinking and reasoning styles, occupational interests, and behavioral traits.
  • PSI – The Profiles Sales Indicator assessment predicts sales performance and measures the five key characteristics that make salespeople successful: competitiveness, self-reliance, persistence, energy, and sales drive.
  • CSP – Customer Service Perspective. Research has identified ten specific behavioral characteristics and proficiencies essential to extraordinary customer service.
  • SOS II – Step One Survey. A scientifically designed assessment tool that evaluates job applicants for integrity, substance abuse, reliability, and work ethic.

In conjunction with pre-employment assessments, a pre-hire background check should be performed on each and every potential new hire. HRN has also partnered with Verifications, Inc. to provide accurate, confidential, and comprehensive employee background check services using state-of-the-art technology at pre-negotiated volume discount pricing. Verifications, Inc. is a global provider of employment screening products and services serving more than 5,000 clients each month.

HRN can supply a complete menu of background check services or bundled employment screening packages. Types of background check services include academic, employment, criminal, civil, sex offender, credit, and DMV. Drug, alcohol, and substance abuse testing services are also available.

Additional information can be found at:


December 10, 2010

HR Fact Friday: Good and Bad News of Employee Drug Tests

The Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) at the University of Maryland, College Park reports in its weekly CESAR FAX that the percentage of positive employee drug tests containing marijuana and cocaine has decreased, while positive tests for sedatives, amphetamines, and opiates has increased.

In 2009, Quest Diagnostics conducted drug tests on more than 5.5. million urine samples collected from workers across the nation.

According to the most recent drug testing index, 3.6% of all tests conducted in 2009 were positive for at least one illicit drug. Marijuana continues to be the drug most frequently detected.

However, the percentage of positives for marijuana has decreased significantly over the past 10 years, from 62.2% of all drug positives in 1999 to 43.7% in 2009. The percentage of cocaine positives also decreased in the last decade, from 16.2% to 7.3% of all drug positives.

In contrast, the percentage of positives for sedatives nearly doubled (from 6.5% to 11.2%), while those for amphetamines and opiates nearly tripled (from 4.5% to 13.1% and 7.5% to 20.1%, respectively).

The press release with specific information is available from CESAR.

Editor Note: HRN provides volume discount pricing on a wide range of background check services through our partnership with Verifications, Inc. To receive service and pricing information go to:



August 19, 2008

Public Employer Drug Screening Limited

Filed under: Drugs10:36 am

A 9th Circuit Court of Appeals case illustrates a few of the differences between public and private sector HR and clarifies some limits of drug testing by public entities.  Public employers are subject to many more drug testing restrictions than private companies because of constitutionally protected privacy and search rights. In the case, the court found that a city policy requiring pre-employment drug testing was unconstitutional, at least as it applied to the situation before it, which involved a library page.

While the court left the door open to the testing in special circumstances or instances of “concrete danger,”  there was no such showing with the library position.  Generally, to meet constitutional search standards, a test would have to come about because of specific, individualized suspicion, not a blanket testing policy. Drug testing is a complex undertaking in both the public and private sectors. It’s a good idea to consult with your attorney regarding your policies and practices.  [Lanier v. City of Woodburn].

The 9th Circuit covers California, Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Nevada.


March 26, 2008

HR Fact Friday: Pot Prescription, Even in California, No Match for Employer Drug Test

Filed under: Drugs2:34 pm

As a child of the 70’s myself, and having been born and raised in California, I just couldn’t resist sharing the following employment law ruling in a case involving a California employee whose doctor recommended his use of marijuana to treat chronic pain. The employee filed a disability discrimination claim against his employer for firing him after testing positive for drug consumption. I have to admit I have mixed feelings on the case. I feel for the employee, and his painful condition, but I support the employer for enforcing a legitimate zero tolerance drug policy.