Does Manager Have to Give Reason for Drug Test?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about drug testing:

I am a GM for a restaurant inside a retail store. One of my employees showed me pictures of another employee doing drugs. HR wants me to send them for a drug screen. Do I have to explain to him why I am sending him if he asks?

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried:

Labor laws or state labor department regulations about drug tests vary from state to state. Many do not require an explanation to an employee, even if the test is not random, but others do. Your HR section would most likely know the state law about it. I realize you might prefer to not have to ask them, but you’d be better off doing so than being in error and creating a liability concern. One way to ask without giving the impression of having no knowledge at all, would be to ask, “I’m going to talk to Kevin when he arrives at work but I wanted to make sure I follow the company protocol about the terminology I use. What is the standard statement to an employee in a case like this?” You may also want to ask them if they have a protocol for a manager’s response if the employee refuses to take the drug screen, since that may happen in this case! Best wishes to you with this situation.

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