Drug Test a Cleaning Employee Angela Brown Ask a House Cleaner

Should You Drug Test a Cleaning Employee?

Can you drug test a cleaning employee if you suspect they are high? And should you drug test them if they get in an accident driving from one job to another?

Cleaning employees cost their businesses millions of dollars each year by showing up to the job under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Here is what you need to know to protect your residential cleaning service business.

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.

Should You Drug Test Cleaning Employees?

Drug Test a Cleaning Employee, Car AccidentShould you drug test cleaning employees? These are employees that you’re going to send to customers’ homes that are around the customer’s medication, the customer’s valuables. And these employees would be expected to drive to and from the job on public roads, putting their lives and the lives of the other passengers and drivers around them in harm’s way if they were impaired. Should you drug test your cleaning employees?

So the question is a great question, but the answer is, does the company have a no-drug policy that’s already written and in place right now? And if the answer is no, then no, you cannot. Okay?

Every Company Has Different Drug Rules

Drug Test a Cleaning Employee, Concerned Man and Woman Look at PaperSo let’s back up a little bit and we’ll talk about some broad strokes. And I say broad strokes because every state in the United States is a little bit different when it comes to drug policies for employees and drug testing. So check with the state that you live in, just to make sure that you are correct. But I’ll give you some broad strokes, just so you can be aware of how the process operates.

First, you must have a written policy in place that says we are a drug-free workplace and these are the reasons why. So this is what we do not allow. These are the types of drugs that we do not allow. This is the type of job that you have, the description of the job, and how it could impair your job if you were inebriated or intoxicated or any of those things.

So you have to spell it out. It has to be in writing. And then you have to give it to the employee and they have to read it, say, I agree to the random drug testing or the for-cause drug testing. I agree to this, and they have to sign and date it. That goes inside the employee file, then they keep a copy for themselves.

Specify Your Drug Policies First

Now, before you just randomly do this in your company, you have to specify exactly what the policies are and you have to advertise it before you offer a job. So, for example, if you’re putting out job postings and you’re trying to recruit people, in the ad itself, you must say we are a drug-free company and we do drug testing. You have to put that in writing so there are no surprises. And here’s the reason why.

There are a lot of people that will drift to businesses that are like small home-based businesses, where they may get turned away at a corporate job because the corporate job has these drug policies in place. And so, they drift to these fringe jobs that are not so strict on the drug policies.

So, you don’t want to hire somebody and then trick them once they get inside, because they do recreational drugs or whatever, and then their employment is on the line, right? You want to make sure that it is inside your advertising before you try to recruit anyone.

Mention It Again in Your Interviews

Drug Test a Cleaning Employee, Work MeetingOnce you are in the job interview, you need to, again, mention, “We have a drug-free workplace. I just want to give you a heads up.” They have a choice whether or not to accept the job if they somehow slighted the fact that that was in your ad. But you’ll usually weed out people at that point if they’re recreational drug users and they know that they won’t pass your test.

Okay, so once you’ve offered them the job, and this is the key, you have to have offered them the job, then you get them to sign a form that says, I read your drug-free policy. I accept it. I submit to testing when you have that testing. And the testing has to specify whether it’s going to be random drug testing or whether it’s going to be for cause testing.

Random Drug Testing is Not Random

Drug Test a Cleaning Employee, Holding Smaple Cup, Give Advanced Notice for Random Drug TestingNow, random drug testing is not really random. You have to give a two-week notice, for example, in some states. Some states it’s only one week, but you have to give them advanced notice and say, “Hey, we’re doing random drug testing in our company. Just be aware.” Right? You have to give them a heads up and a notice. All right, that would be random.

The cause would be if you are in an accident or there’s an on-the-job injury. Under those circumstances, you will be sent for drug testing. The other cause that’s kind of a gray area and can be debated is, did somebody else witness the employee with a really bizarre car or threatening behavior that was out of the norm for that person? And if that’s the case, then that could be considered for the cause.

Check With Your Lawyer Before Testing Your Employees

Drug Test a Cleaning Employee, Woman Talking on PhoneSo if you’re not sure, please check with your lawyer, because we don’t want you to get in trouble for just randomly trying to test somebody. So for cause and random testing. This has to be in writing, and then once they sign that, then that is your policy and that is what you practice inside your company.

Now, random drug testing is interesting, because even if you give a two-week notice, you can’t just randomly pick one person and test that person only. You have to test over 50% of your work team to make sure that you’re not playing favorites or single anyone out or any of those things.

So can you test someone? The answer is yes, based on a series of parameters. And you want to understand what those parameters are and you want to make sure that you have your bases covered because if it’s not in the employee file if it’s not signed and dated by the employee, they are not required by law to take a test.

What to Do if They Don’t Pass

Drug Test a Cleaning Employee, Failed Drug TestNow, if they don’t pass the test, then there are a couple of other things that you have to consider. You can, for example, if they refuse to sign the waiver upfront when you’re offering them the job after you’ve offered them the job, you can withdraw the offer and say, “Hey, this is what our company policy is. If you won’t follow the rules and regulations, we will withdraw the offer.”

No employment. And at that time, you can withdraw the offer. If they decide later that they don’t want to accept the job, then you have other issues you have to take that are already in your policy. Here’s what happens if you don’t submit to it at the time.

That has to be in your policy. And they’ve already signed that already, right? So they understand the consequences.

Can You Fire Them if You Fail?

Drug Test a Cleaning Employee, Concerned Employees TalkingThe other thing that happens is if they do take a drug test and they don’t pass, can you fire them? Under certain rules and regulations defined by your state, the answer is yes, you can fire them. Other ones will recommend that you send them to a rehabilitation program where they go through and they become well and drug-free, right? So there are different rules for how that’s handled once inside your company.

But one of the reasons that small cleaning business owners are drug testing their employees, and it’s expensive to do, it’s a commitment, but it reduces a lot of absenteeism. It reduces a lot of on-the-job injuries.

It reduces accidents that are house cleaners driving to and from jobs, especially if they’re in a hurry, which house cleaners are. They’re trying to get from one job to the next and be on time, so it’s often a mad rush to get from one job to the next.

So Should You Drug Test Your Employees?

Drug Test a Cleaning Employee, Cast on Foot, Reasons for Cause Drug Testing Accident Work InjuryAnd the other thing that’s a concern is being inebriated or intoxicated can change your perception of time or the type of job that you’re doing. You might think you’re super tidy when actually, you might be sloppy and you’ve missed some things.

There are a lot of things that can happen if you’re impaired at work. So, there are house cleaners that are now taking a more serious look at drug testing their employees. Should you do it? It’s a conversation you should have with your business partner and with your employees, and decide if it’s right for you.

But I recommend that you give it some serious thought because it’s not something to screw around with, but it’s certainly something to consider as a way of moving forward and expanding your business.

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