Pre-Employment Drug Screening In Tennessee

The Tennessee Drug Free Workplace Program is designed to promote safe work sites for employees by promoting drug- and alcohol-free workplaces.

State of Tennessee Drug Free Workplace Rules rules:

A shift in the burden of proof in workers’ compensation claims involving a positive alcohol or drug test.

If an employee is injured at work and later fails a post-accident drug/alcohol test, it is presumed that the drugs or alcohol were the proximate cause of the injury.  
Workers’ Compensation benefits can be denied until the injured employee overcomes that presumption

Legislation was passed in 2011 that increased the standard of proof required by an injured worker to overcome the presumption from a preponderance of evidence to clear and convincing evidence.  

This change makes it even more difficult for employees impaired by alcohol or other drugs, while at work, to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits.

  • The presumption that the discharge or discipline of an employee, or the refusal to hire a job applicant, who is found to be in violation of the employer’s drug-free workplace program will be considered done for cause.  

  • This will likely disqualify employees from receiving unemployment benefits.

Participants must Renew their application each year at the same time that they renew their workers’ compensation insurance policy;

  • Administer the following five types of tests:

    • Pre-employment (must test for drugs, may test for alcohol) after a conditional offer of employment

    • Post-accident that resulted in an injury—in emergency situations employees injured and required to be tested must be taken to a medical facility for immediate treatment of the injury.  Specimens cannot be taken prior to administering emergency care.  

    • In non-emergency situations the injured employee must submit to the test at the time the injury is entered into the employer’s OSHA 300 log.

    • Reasonable suspicion—employer must detail in writing, within seven (7) calendar days, the circumstances that formed the determination to test and provide a copy of this detail to the employee upon request

    • Fitness-for-duty (for safety-sensitive positions)—where required by law; are part of the employer’s policy; or is routinely scheduled for all members of the employment classification group;

    • Follow-up testing of employees that enter an EAP program for drug/alcohol-related reasons—not required if employee voluntarily entered program; if required it must be conducted at least once a year for two consecutive years; employee cannot be given advance notice of the date of the follow-up test.

 A medical review officer must be used.

As defined in the Rules and Guidelines, “Medical Review Officer” or “MRO” means a licensed physician, employed with or contracted with a covered employer, who has knowledge of substance abuse disorders, laboratory testing procedures and chain of custody collection procedures;

who verifies positive, confirmed test results; and who has the necessary medical training to interpret and evaluate an employee’s positive test result in relation to the employee’s medical history or any other relevant biomedical information.

The MRO should be used to review all positive tests with the employee or applicant before the employer is advised of the test results.

Using an MRO provides the employer with a medically qualified interpretation of a positive test result, which would be defensible in a court of law.

The MRO helps to protect both the employer and the employee.

Costs for drug tests must be paid by the employer.

Employee’s requests for retests are at the employee’s expense.

Employers may not discriminate by testing only certain groups of employees by race or gender for drug testing.

Nor, may they defame an employee by publicizing an employee’s positive test results.

ADA. An applicant who is taking medication for a disability is protected by the Americans With Disability act (ADA.)

Drug Free workplace credit on Workers’ Compensation premiums.

A 5 percent credit on workers’ compensation insurance premium ia available for qualified and certified employer drug or alcohol abuse prevention programs in the workplace.

The employer’s program must include a compliance policy statement, notice of the policy to all employees and prospective employees, and confidentiality of all matters pertaining to the program must be maintained.

Also, the employer must include provisions for random sampling and conducting of a second test to be administered within 30 minutes of the first test.

Unemployment benefits and workers’ comp benefits may be denied if an employee refuses to test or there is evidence of intoxication from either alcohol or a controlled substance.

We provide convenient pre-employment drug screening primarily through
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None of the information contained in this web site should be construed as legal advice. All forms, policies, information and procedures should be reviewed by your legal counsel before being used in any way.

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