Testing employees or job applicants for drug or alcohol use invokes a controversial area of policy and law that is still establishing its parameters. Though the drug testing policies adopted by various organizations vary, some general rules are applicable under the drug-free work place program of both state and federal organizations. As per the general rule, both employees and applicants may be tested for drugs, tests may be conducted pre-employment, “upon reasonable suspicion” or “for cause,” at random, routinely, and/or post treatment or rehabilitation. The basic tests screen for amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine, opiates, or phencyclidine (PCP), while the extended tests might screen for barbiturates, benzodiazepines, ethanol, hallucinogens, inhalants, or anabolic steroids. The tests may involve urine samples, saliva tests, hair samples, sweat patches, breathalyzers, or blood tests.
Though these are the general rules relating to drug testing, in some cases, there are some special considerations that result in a change in the drug testing policy. These special considerations include factors like whether the testing is mandatory or optional, whether or not the testing is done for a cause or whether it is done at random, whether the employees who are being tested belong to a union or not and also depend on whether the people being subject to the test are actually employees of the organization or only applicants.