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Drug Testing Blog

Wednesday, September 20 2023
Employee Onboarding: Should You Drug Screen Potential Hires in Texas?

There are over 630,000 employers in Texas.


If you’re one of them, you probably spend quite a bit of time hiring new staff.


You may have found someone perfect for an open position—a top-qualified candidate—but you can’t onboard them just yet.


The final step before you welcome a new team member is to conduct a pre-employment drug test. This article will serve as a drug-testing guide for employers.


When Should Employers Drug Test Employees?

Generally, employers offer their top candidate a conditional offer of employment before administering a drug test.


Companies, however, can require drug tests at any time. This includes:


  • Before an employee is hired.
  • At random.
  • At specific intervals.
  • With reasonable suspicion that an employee is using drugs.
  • After a workplace accident.


Drug tests may also be given to employees who recently completed a substance abuse treatment program. In these cases, the screen is usually required before they can come back to work.


Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Legal?

At, we help Texas employers manage their pre-employment drug testing program. Today we serve clients in San Antonio, Austin, and Houston. We are also active in Corpus Christi and other Texas cities.


Now, pre-employment drug testing is legal. But employers should keep certain parameters in mind:


  • Most private employers are not required to have a drug-free workplace policy—but they are certainly entitled to. (Federal employers, and companies in the safety and security space, must maintain a drug-free work environment.)


  • Drug testing is confidential. Potential hires must sign a release before an employer can access their results.


  • For employers in the transportation industry, there are special considerations. The Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 states that transportation staff should have a negative drug test before they start work. This includes truck drivers and operators of heavy machinery.


Now let’s talk about what the drug testing process looks like.


How Does Pre-Employment Drug Testing Work?

After receiving a conditional offer of employment, employers can proceed with the candidate’s drug test. This typically involves the following steps:


  • The candidate signs a release agreeing to the drug test.
  • The applicant visits a clinical collection site within a certain timeframe to leave a urine sample.
  • The lab ships the sample to an authorized testing facility.
  • After careful review, the lab sends the drug test results to the employer.


Oral Saliva and Urine Dip Card drug testing may be available as well.


Every once in a while, a valid prescription will influence the results of a drug screen. The candidate, in these cases, can work with a medical review officer to clarify what happened.


What Do Drug Tests Look For?

Most drug tests look for the following substances:


  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates (including heroin and oxycodone)
  • Amphetamines and Methamphetamines
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)


While marijuana has been legalized in many states, it is still illegal in Texas for recreational use.


What Happens When a Candidate Fails Their Drug Test?

Here in Texas, many employers struggle after a candidate fails their drug test.


A negative outcome isn’t an automatic disqualifier, though. The employer’s written policy, plus federal and state laws, should all factor into the final hiring decision.


A trusted partner like can help you navigate this.


A Trusted Drug Screening Partner for Texas Employers

At Redstar Backgrounds and, our team will help you through every step of the pre-employment drug testing process. Work with us, and we’ll build a custom program for your organization.


Please contact us for details, or to set up a free consultation. For more information on our pre-employment screening services here in Texas, visit our website or follow us on Facebook, X, and LinkedIn.

Posted by: AT 04:24 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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