Employers report they are having difficulty finding workers who can pass a pre-employment drug test, The New York Times reports.
Drug testing is becoming increasingly common at companies of all sizes. In some industries, such as trucking, drug testing is mandated by federal law for safety reasons.The trend reflects an increase in the use of marijuana, as well as heroin and other opioid drugs, the article notes.
In June 2015, Quest Diagnostics found the percentage of American workers testing positive for illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine increased for the second consecutive year in the general U.S. workforce. The positivity rate for approximately 6.6 million urine drug tests increased to 4.7 percent in 2014, compared with 4.3 percent the previous year.
Dr. Barry Sample, Quest’s Director of Science and Technology, said the problem used to be worse. “If we go back to 1988, the combined U.S. work force positivity...
Opioid abuse could be costing U.S. employers up to $8 billion annually, according to a report by the benefits firm Castlight Health.
Employees who abuse opioids cost employers almost twice as much in healthcare expenses on average, compared with workers who don’t abuse opioids, the report found. The average healthcare cost for employees who abuse opioids is $19,450, compared with $10,853 for employees who do not abuse opioids.
Castlight recommends employers, especially those with large and diverse workforces, analyze where lower back pain and depression—two conditions closely associated with opioid abuse—are most prevalent in their company. The company notes that employers may want to guide some employees away from unnecessary back surgery, which comes with opioid prescriptions.
The report notes that “targeted educational content could help inform employees suffering from lower back pain that an opioid may not be the wisest option for them, or that physical therapy benefits are available.”...
Managers in states where marijuana is legal are toughening up their drug policies, according to a new survey.
Many employers in these states say they will not hire employees who smoke marijuana on their own time, Bloomberg Business reports.
The survey, conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), included responses from 623 human resources managers in states where marijuana is legal.
Almost half of the managers said they have policies, or plan to implement them, that restrict employing people who use marijuana. The survey found 38 percent said they will not hire people who use marijuana, even if it is for medical reasons. Six percent said their policy excludes only those who smoke marijuana for recreational reasons.
“There is what I consider to be a significant number of employers that are saying they wouldn’t hire an employee that uses marijuana,” said Evren Esen, Director of Survey Programs at SHRM....