Workplace drug testing is a common mandate that many companies are incorporating into their hiring process now. As a matter of fact, certain job sectors governed by the Department of Transportation (DOT) or the federal state have a legal mandate to conduct drug tests on both applicants and employees. Failing a drug test can have serious consequences with some cases being deemed as a felony as well. A positive drug test might also result in job termination if the company enforces a drug-free workplace policy. However, a positive drug test going on your record entirely depends on the circumstance.
Employers and employees have to be aware of legal protections or limitations when it comes to disclosing drug test results. To avoid legal concerns, know more about these limitations here.
Is it legal for previous employers to disclose failed drug test reports?
Previous employers can legally disclose a failed drug test under certain circumstances or if they are obligated to, depending on certain factors. Some of them include:-
- If the company is government-run or private: Most employers of privately-owned companies cannot disclose the drug test results on a background check. In the United States, it is illegal to disclose that a failed drug test was the cause of job termination in the background check. However, when it comes to government positions, employers will require this information and it is also legal for them to seek it.
- Was the drug test a part of a criminal investigation: If a drug test results in a criminal conviction, or is a part of a criminal investigation, the details go into the public record. They can be easily found by anyone, including employers during a background check.
- What state you are working in: Laws may differ from one state to another. If you are moving out of state for a job, make sure that you check the local laws and regulations before seeking or disclosing drug test information.
What will happen if a drug test is disclosed illegally?
If a drug test is disclosed illegally, the employee has every right to sue the company and fight a legal battle regarding the invasion of privacy or discrimination. It is recommended to always contact an attorney when it comes to law-related matters in order to keep yourself updated and get adequate backup.
Do failed drug tests show up on background checks?
While conducting the background screening of employees, employers cannot view any information regarding former drug test failures. This information remains strictly private and is only accessible to the previous employer who held the workplace drug testing. As per the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), all test results are considered confidential medical information and can solely be disclosed to the ones who availed of the testing services.
One very important thing to note is that employee background checks can still provide criminal record details if an employee is convicted of any felony. Although it does not include positive drug test results, it can disclose criminal histories related to previous drug charges that can also significantly impact the entire hiring process.
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