March 12, 2014

Can I have my employees pay the cost of their drug test in Virginia?

You’re a Virginia business owner and have decided that it’s a good idea to test applicants, employees, or both for evidence of illegal drug use.  You have looked into the cost of having all of these tests done and have seen that it will be quite an expense.  So the next logical question is: can I have my applicants and/or employees pay the cost of their drug testing?  Or can I have them pay in the event they don’t pass the test, or they quit within a set period of time.  The answer to all of these questions and scenarios is, generally and unfortunately, “No*.”  Virginia law prohibits employers from passing on the cost of any medical examination, including drug testing, to employees.  Your company could face a fine for every violation of this law.

If you’re thinking of instituting a drug testing program in your company, you want to be sure that it doesn’t inadvertently cause more problems for you then it solves.  You should have two documents created for your situation by a lawyer that understands this area of the law: (1) a drug testing policy that you can provide to each of your applicants and employees and that describes in detail the process; and (2) a consent form for each applicant and employee to sign that shows their consent to the testing.  I can prepare these documents for your company on a flat fee basis.  If you would like my help putting these together for your company, just contact me.

* Laws change.  This answer is accurate as of the time written but you should always check the current state of the law before making a decision or taking any action.

Filed under FAQ