Drug and alcohol abuse in the workplace causes 65 percent of on-the-job accidents and 38 percent to 50 percent of all workers’ compensation claims were related to the abuse of alcohol or drugs in the workplace. (Source: U.S. Department of Labor)
Around 8.9 percent of those employed full-time reported use of illicit drugs in our workplaces. (Source: National Survey on Drug Use & Health (NSDUH), sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA))
More than 70 percent of U.S. employers are dealing with a direct impact of prescription drug misuse in the workplace (Source: National Safety Council)
Deaths from unintentional alcohol and drug use in the workplace rose by an astonishing 30 percent in 2016. Overall, overdose facilities have increased by at least 25 percent annually since 2012 (Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Detox.com conducted a survey with 1,121 people who reported using drugs while being employed. 28.23% of those surveyed said they do drugs on their way to work while 22.75% said they do drugs on their lunch break. (Source: Detox.com, please click here for the entire article)
As of September 21, 2018, employers utilizing third-party reporting agencies will have a revised form to file from the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Employers will now be required to notify applicants and current employees of their rights under the FCRA with the Summary of Consumer Rights form in the case of any adverse action taken against them. This could include not being hired for a job, fired from a job, or being disciplined based upon a background screen.
What exactly is the Summary of Consumer Rights? It’s a document providing both job applicants and current employees with their rights to obtain and dispute any information in the consumer reports. The applicant or employee also has the rights to obtain credit scores. Employers will now have to provide this form with any pre-adverse notification. If the Summery of Consumer Rights are not included, organizations can face legal ramifications.
Updates to the Summary of Consumer Rights includes information about fraud alerts and security freezes. Fraud alerts have now been extended from 90 days to 365 days that reporting agencies should list in the consumers file. This updated disclosure alerts organizations that the consumer may have been exposed to identify theft.
The National Security Freeze allows consumers to obtain a security freeze which makes it more difficult for identify thieves to open an account. This also restricts lenders from securing a consumer’s credit report. Consumer companies can’t charge any fees or levies to consumers, this stems from a May 2018 decision by Congress.
What does this mean for employers? If you haven’t already updated your forms, you must do that immediately to avoid legal ramifications.
The topic of which level of background screen is best, comes up almost daily with clients at Wolfe Inc. All too often, companies think a federal background check would encompass an individual’s entire criminal history which isn’t completely true. A federal background check would turn up only federal crimes which are those charged by the U.S. Courts.
Most crimes including felonies and misdemeanors are processed at a state or county level. Some states are required to update the database daily, North Carolina is one of those states. At the close of business each day, all counties are required to report to the state of that day’s activities. That means, the North Carolina database is updated daily at a state level which makes background screenings much more efficient. Some other states may not be as timely or accurate as NC. Some States do not provide a State Search. Those states are California, Louisiana, Nevada, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Illinois, Wyoming.
An employer can also request a county level search. Charges are usually entered into the county level system first. County level searches are the most accurate but can be time consuming. Some counties are available to be searched online however there are still some searches that require our runner to go to the actual courthouse to search.
Wolfe Inc’s. background screening division doesn’t just set the standard for our industry in pre-employment screenings but also screenings for current employees. Some industries including financial, healthcare, security, among others require current employees consent to random background and credit screenings. When dealing with secure information or patients, it is essential to know your employees and mitigate risks.
A simple solution for a complex world
With an estimated 10 million to 12 million drug users in the workplace, drug testing is crucial to maintaining a drug-free workplace. The US Department of Labor estimates that between $129 billion and $180 billion dollars are lost yearly due to productivity loses from drug use. Drug users are said to be 33% less effective than their co-workers and on average cost an employer between $7,000 and $15,000 annually.
Oral fluid drug testing is ideal for collecting/testing for a multitude of reasons. It is completely observable; meaning you can watch the donor provide the sample, there are no privacy concerns unlike urine specimens, less set-up time, collector gender isn’t a concern and you don’t have to hear the dreaded “I can’t use the bathroom” statement anymore.
Oral fluid drug testing saves time while increasing productivity of the collector with less setup and waiting time. This method is also ideal for post-accident testing because it can detect current drug use with a window of detection of 12-24 hours.
With a simple collection process, there is a reduced risk of adulteration and/or substitution because you can visibly watch the donor provide the sample.
1. First the donor rinses their mouth with water and waits 10 minutes.
2. Place the collector under the tongue and wait for the indicator window to turn blue indicating that is saliva quantity is sufficient.
3. Uncap the transport tube in a upright position and hold the tube in your hand.
4. Insert collector into the uncapped transport tube.
5. Snap the cap firmly for transport. Seal with the security seals from the coc form.
6. Ship to the lab for testing. It’s that easy and that simple.
Over the last few years, oral fluid drug testing has made leaps and bounds. Oral fluid testing is much harder to dilute, substitute, and adulterate as compared to urine specimens. DID YOU KNOW that over 75,000 websites have advice on beating a urine-based drug test?
Providing a consistent volume is crucial and vital to obtaining the best results which is why the donor must place the collector under their tongue until the indicator window turns blue. This allows for consistent results time after time. We have multiple partners including Keystone Labs that can now administer 45 panel tests.
What search is best for my company?
With so many different background screening options available, we wanted to take some time to go over the most commonly used services we offer at Wolfe Inc. First is a social security trace with is verified based upon the applicant’s social security number for all alias names and past address history. This search is drawn from a history of loans, mortgages or housing leases/rentals, utilities and criminal records with almost an instant turnaround time.
Motor Vehicle Reports or MVR’s showcase an applicant driving abstract history which is vital if they are driving for DOT or have a company vehicle. The information provided by each state differs per their laws. MVR results are reported to the client exactly as each state reports. At Wolfe, we offer this service during both pre-employment and on a monthly or quarterly basis, the amount of times we screen MVR’s is fully customizable to what the company needs and wants.
Credit screenings consist of a credit and financial history records consisting of active accounts, collections, bankruptcy, and other history drawn from various credit bureaus. If your company is hiring for an upper level management positive or a positive that deals with money or accounting, we highly recommend running a credit screen on the applicant because it will show any red flags for fiduciary responsibility.
County searches are the best search available for real time criminal records which consists of local district and municipal courts. This search gives you a snapshot of your candidate’s criminal history at a county level. At Wolfe, we can customize this search to include 7 years of history and we can literally search every county the applicant has lived in over the last 7 years in all 50 states. This can be a more time-consuming search due to some counties not having active online search availability, so an actual person must go to the county courthouse to vet records. In North Carolina, the state requires all counties to submit their records daily, so the state-wide database is updated every evening for instant results.
State searches as stated above encompass an entire state meaning the state administrator of courts and/or repository. This search gives your company a snapshot at the candidate’s criminal history at the state level. But as we mentioned earlier, some states and counties require background screening companies like Wolfe to send people to county courthouses to physically search their records. But some states including NC update their state databases daily, it’s really state dependent.
Federal searches encompass everything brought on by the US Courts, meaning charges brought on by the US government. One of the common questions we get at Wolfe is “If I do a federal screen will that cover the state and county levels”? NO, it won’t, the federal search only finds charges brought on by the US government, so you would also need to do the state and county searches to get a full overview of the applicant.
Verification searches come in a wide variety and Wolfe is proud to offer multiple services under this category. Employment verification showcases your applicants’ work history and education verification verifies your applicants’ high school and college records. Professional and personal references are both vetted at Wolfe, the applicant provides references and the experts at Wolfe will call each reference for verification. If your applicant has a professional license, Wolfe can vet that license through State Boards which would include up-to-date disciplinary actions and sanctions against your candidate. Workers Compensation searches are done through the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations which give you a history of the applicants’ accidents and claims.
Hiring a new employee is a big decision for any business, big or small and isn’t taken lightly. When a company decides to not hire an employee based upon findings in a background screening or credit report, the next step is the adverse action process. Adverse action is a two-step process, a pre-adverse action package is sent to the applicant notifying them that they were denied employment, an employment offer was rescinded, or a promotional opportunity denied. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires a reasonable amount of time, usually 5 business days is the accepted norm however that time frame may change per jurisdiction.
If the applicant responds with a dispute to the Pre-Adverse Action, appropriate actions MUST be followed and within an acceptable time frame.
If the applicant does not dispute the accuracy of the report within the 5 days, then a final adverse action notice is sent to the applicant to explain that they will not be employed or receive the applied for promotion by the company at this time.
Adverse action is not just limited to individual people but also businesses in some circumstances. Employees can be denied a promotion or terminated from employment based upon a background screening or credit report. Yes, you read that right, companies can deny an employee a promotion or even terminate them based upon a background screening or credit report. When this happens, the same course for adverse action above applies.
Wolfe Inc. can handle all administrative requests related to adverse action for our clients which takes a lot of pressure off a company. Wolfe is fully FCRA trained and certified by the NAPBS (National Association of Professional Background Screeners to be fully compliant with FCRA requirements. which can help put your companies mind at ease concerning adverse action notices. If your company is not following these FCRA requirements, you could be facing serious legal trouble.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has issued a letter stating that random drug testing rates will be increasing in 2019. The minimum rate of random drug testing will increase from 25 percent to 50 percent subject to the FTA’s drug and alcohol regulation. With a large increase of “positive rates”, the FTA felt it necessary to increase the testing. Only the random drug testing rate is increase, the alcohol testing rate will remain at 10 percent.
November 27th, 2017
Wolfe Inc. Acquires Drug and Alcohol Management, LLC
ASHEVILLE, NC – Wolfe Inc. announces it has purchased the bulk assets of competitor Drug and Alcohol Management, LLC. Effective November 16th, 2017, employees and clients of Drug and Alcohol Management, LLC resumed operations as part of Wolfe Inc.
Wolfe Inc. is a provider of trusted employer solutions including drug testing, background screening services, and learning management programs with offices in Charlotte, Concord, and Asheville, NC.
The acquisition increases Wolfe Inc.’s regional presence with the addition of three collection sites located in Asheboro, Greensboro, and Bryson City, NC.
“We are confident that this acquisition will allow us to expand our services to current clients as well as showcase our hassle-free customer experience for our newest clients,” said Jim Wolfe, owner of Wolfe Inc. and Keystone Laboratories, an independent lab in Asheville, NC.
“It has been a long-term priority for us to purchase a smaller company whose values reflect our own, and we are pleased to have this opportunity.”
This comes just three years after Keystone Laboratories’ expansion into medication monitoring as a service to healthcare providers specializing in family medicine, substance abuse treatment, and pain management. The impetus for that, according to Wolfe, was the rise in painkiller abuse and the need for a trusted regional laboratory offering clinical drug testing with rapid turnaround time.
“We’re not a big company by any means,” said Wolfe, whose employees now total close to 60, “But we have bright, dedicated team members who offer better service than the larger providers. We like to think of ourselves as a small but growing company that helps other organizations grow and prosper.”
Contact: Melissa Mickalunas
Tel: (828) 771-3113
Notice To D.O.T. Regulated Employees of New Testing Panel C1
Federal Judge David Russell, District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, on Tuesday July 11 helped the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) drive a stake through the heart of OSHA’s much maligned injury and illness reporting rule while the agency considers whether to undo all or part of the regulation. This now barred rule did more to slow down, and to some extent halt, post-accident drug testing by employers across the United States for fear of an OSHA retaliation charge and finds. The case is the National Association of Home Builders of the United States et al. v. Perez et al.
Judge Russell issued a one-page order granting a request by OSHA to stay the case, which the agency filed Monday, July 10th arguing that it needed the time to determine whether to “reconsider, revise or remove portions of the rule” at issue. He ordered OSHA to submit status reports every 90 days to keep the court apprised of the agency’s progress with respect to the proposed rulemaking the agency outlined in its motion.
OSHA’s new rule, which was finalized last year and took effect on Jan. 1, after a Texas Federal District Judge refused to enjoin it in November 2016, required employers to submit electronically information about workplace injuries and illnesses for a publicly available database. Many labeled its OSHA’s attempt to shame employers into compliance, as well as foster litigation. The rule also required employers to establish reporting procedures for injuries and illnesses and barred retaliation against workers who reported such incidents. OHSA in its comments to the new rule spotlighted suspicionless post-accident drug testing as grounds for it to issue a retaliation citation.
In January 2017, the National Association of Home Builders of the United States, and others, filed a Federal Court Complaint in Oklahoma claiming the database rule exceeds OSHA’s record keeping authority and violated the First Amendment by compelling businesses to give up too much private information.
On June 28 OSHA published a notice in the federal register that both proposed a five-month delay to the July 1 deadline for certain employers to submit the first batch of information required under the rule and questioned whether additional portions of the rule would be subject to changes. OHSA stated in its filing that allowing the parties to proceed with motions for summary judgment presented the risk that OHSA would have to brief and the court would have to consider issues that may be rendered moot by the agency’s reconsideration of the regulation.
In its motion filed on Monday, the Agency stated as follows: “OSHA has confirmed that it will propose additional rulemaking that could directly affect the scope of the rule and therefore the claims at issue in this litigation… Given OSHA’s decision to propose rulemaking that could affect the requirements of the rule, there is good cause for granting the government’s request to stay this case. Staying this litigation would conserve judicial resources because additional rulemaking could eliminate or simplify some of the issues in dispute.”
Common Sense Counsel: Employers without fear of OSHA oversight or fines can, and should, immediately reinstate post-accident drug testing. Of course, having a legally compliant program in accordance with State Laws is critical to successful Worker’s Compensation Disqualification for a positive drug testing result, discharge decisions, privacy concerns, and receiving the worker’s compensation premium discount from your insurer or fund.
Tommy Eden is a partner working out of the Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP offices in Opelika, AL and West Point, GA and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and drafts state compliant drug-free workplace programs for employers in all 50 states. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 334-246-2901 with blog at www.alabamaatwork.com with link to order.