Medical person with blue gloves handling vials.

The last few years have provided numerous reasons for employers to reevaluate drug testing practices—from the rapid development of job protections for medical and recreational marijuana use, to the increase in drug testing-based litigation, to pandemic-related remote work, to staffing challenges. Ogletree Deakins’ April 2022 report, Strategies and Benchmarks for the Workplace: Ogletree’s Survey of Key Decision-Makers, provides a sense of how many employers are changing their drug testing practices and the kinds of changes they are making.

According to the report, hiring and retention is the most challenging issue that employers are now facing. When asked about their most challenging multi-jurisdictional compliance issues, employers reported that compliance with varying state marijuana laws ranked fifth among their top areas of concern. In addition, 15.8 percent of respondents said that their companies had eliminated pre-employment drug testing to help with recruiting and hiring challenges. Slightly more than 17 percent had eliminated or relaxed background check requirements to facilitate talent acquisition. Only 3.4 percent of respondents said their companies had eliminated random drug testing to help with retention challenges.

Some respondents answered “other” to questions asking about changes they had made to help with recruiting/hiring and retention challenges. One of the top “other” responses was eliminating marijuana from drug screening panels. As marijuana job protections expand, the percentage of companies registering this response is likely to increase. Employers that continue to test for marijuana may want to be prepared to ensure compliance with the myriad of state laws regulating such testing.

To learn more about current employment trends and developments affecting key decision-makers across industries, please visit Ogletree Deakins’ full benchmarking report.

Ogletree Deakins’ Drug Testing Practice Group will continue to monitor developments with respect to drug testing and provide updates on the Drug Testing blog as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.

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Ogletree Deakins understands that employers face complex and nuanced issues when implementing and enforcing drug and alcohol testing and substance abuse policies. Drawing on decades of experience advising and defending drug testing laboratories, and public and private employers across the country and internationally, our attorneys provide highly responsive legal service

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