Pre-employment prescription drug testing is similar to workplace alcohol and drug testing. All of these are regular tests that are done on employees.

Pre-employment prescription drug testing is common in industries where safety is extremely important e.g. construction, mining, aviation, etc.

If an employer wants you to take a prescription drug test before giving you the job, then you will probably be expected to take regular tests as long as you work for them.

If that’s the case, the employer should explain this when the prescription drug test is requested.

What Kind of Tests Are Used?

This depends on the drug policy of the firm. Employers usually hire third-party testing companies to conduct these tests. Pre-employment drug testing may be done at employer’s location, or you may be asked to visit the third-party testing company’s location. These tests are performed to evaluate the presence of prescription drugs in your system and they generally involve taking a sample of urine or saliva (sometimes hair or blood, however this is less common). Privacy is given but you will also be monitored to ensure that that the test is conducted properly.

What Sort of Drugs Does This Testing Identify?

Different sorts of tests can test for different prescription drugs. A urine test can detect benzodiazepine prescription drugs like sleeping pills and relaxants (e.g. Xanax or Valium). If you take such drugs with a prescription, then it is highly recommended that you bring a letter from your doctor listing the medications when you go for the test.

A saliva test is generally used to detect signs of illegal drugs like heroin, cocaine, methamphetamines, amphetamines, and even cannabis. Similar to prescription drugs, if you are using medical cannabis, then it might be a good idea to bring a prescription letter from your doctor as a proof.

Why Do Employers Test for Prescription Drugs?

Employers test for prescription drugs because providing a safe workplace is their legal responsibility. They don’t want anyone to get hurt because an employee was on drugs. These tests are taken because individuals who abuse prescription drugs may be more likely to take time off work. Misuse of prescription drugs by employees might also cause other problems in the workplace.

If your pre-employment prescription drug test detects drugs in your system, then you probably won’t be offered a job. Talk to the employer or consult with an employment lawyer if you think that your pre-employment prescription drug test gave the wrong results.

What Are My Rights Regarding Pre-Employment Prescription Drug Testing?

If you are asked to take a pre-employment prescription drug test, make sure that the employer explains:
•The testing processes.
•The workplace policy on prescription drug use.
•What happens if you refuse to be tested or you test positive.

If you don’t want to take the prescription drug test, then you don’t have to. However, keep in mind that the employer has the right to deny you the job if you refuse to take the test.

If you don’t agree with the results of a pre-employment prescription drug test or you think that you have been treated unfairly, then it is recommended that you seek legal advice from a seasoned employment lawyer.