Answer: Alden J. Parker, an attorney with Weintraub Tobin, says drug abuse in the workplace is a common and ongoing legal issue that can be difficult to address.
In California, you can test potential employees after you offer a job, but before the employee begins the job. This is known as pre-employment screening.
However, random drug screening is not allowed in the workplace unless the position is considered "safety sensitive." These positions include motor carriers that operate on public roads, individuals who deal with nuclear materials or high explosives or any situation where there is considerable risk to many people. The restaurant industry does not fall under these criteria.
The middle ground between these two choices is known as "reasonable suspicion" testing. This form of testing is written into employment policies and makes it clear that an employee can be screened for drugs if there is reasonable evidence. This can include a pattern of watery eyes, slurred speech, accidents or on-the-job mistakes.
It is imperative that this policy be very clear to employees, and it is also very important that mangers be trained in observing and documenting such behavior. This minimizes risk for a terminated employee to file litigation stating they were unfairly targeted or improperly informed.