Employment Law Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law and HR

May 18, 2015

Anonymous tip on drug use alone not enough to justify test

Q&ADrug and Alcohol 

Question: Our office has received an anonymous tip that one of our employees regularly uses marijuana. We have a zero tolerance drug policy that includes reasonable suspicion testing. Can we send her in for a drug test?

Answer: The use of drugs in the workplace is on the rise, as we discuss in our post, “Positive drug tests on the rise.” However, this trend alone doesn’t give employers the right to jump to conclusions. An anonymous tip is not enough to require a drug test. Reasonable suspicion doesn’t mean you have to be certain, but you should have objective, credible facts to base your suspicion on prior to requiring an employee to submit to a test. However, an anonymous tip should prompt a check-in with the employee and an evaluation of whether there are other factors beyond the tip that might add up to “reasonable suspicion.”


Talk to the employee. Does her performance, appearance, odor, or behavior indicate that she may be using marijuana in violation of your policy? For guidance on assessing and documenting reasonable suspicion, see Vigilant’s Model Form, “Intervention Interview”.


Also, check out our Legal Guide, “Marijuana in the Workplace”, which has been expanded beyond medical marijuana issues to include new information about state laws in Washington and Oregon legalizing the recreational use of marijuana.

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