Excerpted from a Minnesota House of Representatives Blog by Brian Basham

A quick swab or spit could lead to a win-win for employers and potential employees.

Employers that now have a written drug and alcohol testing policy in place are required to test prospective employees using a certified testing laboratory. However, that has led to both time and travel issues.

Sponsored by Rep. Kelly Moller (DFL-Shoreview), HF3516 would add an oral fluid test as another valid means for an employer to test a job applicant for drugs or alcohol.

Moller told the House Labor and Industry Finance and Policy Committee Thursday that delays in laboratory test results are causing employers who require job applicants to take a drug test to lose those potential employees.

“Under the current statute, people have to go off to a different location to a lab to have this drug testing, and as a result of that delay … they decide to go work somewhere else,” she said. “It also means that employees who would pass these tests can’t get started working right away.”

Todd Gaynor, general manager for Veyer Logistics, said many of his company’s potential employees have problems making time and getting to an off-site testing facility.

“I’ve seen numerous cases — quite actually a decent percentage of cases — where we’ve extended a job offer and then we don’t consummate the transaction because the drug testing never gets completed and the applicant abandons the job at that point,” he said.

Gaynor, whose company does business throughout the United States, said 39 other states currently permit oral fluid testing as an option.

“We extend the job offer at the end of the interview and they do the drug testing right then,” he said.

An oral fluid test uses a saliva sample to measure the presence of drugs, alcohol, cannabis, or their metabolites at the same or better levels as existing lab programs. If the oral test comes back positive, inconclusive or invalid, the applicant must undergo testing using the services of a laboratory within 48 hours of the oral fluid test to remain eligible for the job.

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