What You Need to Know About Workplace Drug Testing in North Carolina

North Carolina protects employees against unreliable and invasive workplace drug testing. Here’s what you need to know about workplace drug testing in North Carolina.

North Carolina allows employers to drug test prospective and current employees, but the state requires employers to follow certain requirements for workplace drug testing.

Workplace Drug Testing Process in North Carolina

North Carolina does not specify conditions under which an employer can drug test employees. An employer determines the conditions that may trigger drug testing, including:

  • After a workplace accident or injury
  • As a condition of beginning employment
  • Under reasonable suspicion
  • At a random schedule

The employer must provide written drug testing notice before collecting the sample.

An employer may drug test prospective employees on-site or at an approved laboratory and use a single-use test. An employer must use an approved laboratory to drug test current employees.

If a prospective or current employee’s drug test returns a positive result, an approved laboratory must run a second test to confirm the results. This test must use gas chromatography with mass spectrometry or an equivalent method.

Related: Can a Criminal Record Affect Employment in North Carolina?

The employer must notify the employee of the positive drug test results in writing within 30 days of receiving the positive result.

A prospective employee can waive the second test after receiving the preliminary test results. A current employee may not waive this second test.

A prospective or current employee has the right to request a retest of a confirmed positive result. This retest can occur at the same laboratory or a different location. The prospective or current employee must provide this request in writing. The employee is responsible for the cost of this retest.

A laboratory must retain samples that produce a positive result for a minimum of 90 days after notifying the employer of the result.

Employers must collect drug testing samples in sanitary and reasonable conditions that preserve the dignity of employees. An employer is also responsible for all costs associated with drug testing except an employee’s request for a retest after a confirmed positive result.

If an employee’s prescribed medication appears on a workplace drug test, their employer cannot penalize them for this positive drug test.

An employer must maintain confidentiality surrounding an employee’s drug test results. The employer may release information to the employee or an authorized representative of the employee. The employer may also use this information for employment-related purposes, such as performance evaluations, disciplinary action, and references.

The employer may also release this information to a court or governmental agency with jurisdiction over a proceeding involving the drug test.

Related: Workplace Defamation in North Carolina: Slander & Libel at Work

Penalties for Violations of Workplace Drug Testing Requirements in North Carolina

An employer who violates workplace drug testing requirements in North Carolina can face civil penalties of up to $250 for each violation for a maximum of $1,000.

FAQs About Workplace Drug Testing in North Carolina

Are North Carolina employers required to drug test employees?

No – North Carolina does not require employers to drug test employees. The employer makes the decision to drug test employees.

When can a North Carolina employer drug test an employee?

North Carolina does not specify circumstances where an employer can drug test an employee. An employer can drug test an employee at any time as long as they provide written notice in advance of the collection of a sample.

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If you or a loved one would like to learn more about Workplace Drug Testing North Carolina, get connected to an attorney with one of our Criminal Defense Attorneys in North Carolina, today!