The State of Washington has not passed any laws that regulate employment drug-testing. Therefore, an employer may test any job applicant or employee without giving prior notice. The employer should keep in mind the applicant/employee’s rights and ensure that the test doesn’t violate their privacy (e.g. urine collected under supervision). As well, the employer must take caution when deciding on who shall and who shall not be tested; only testing a specific group of employees or applicants may be seen as discrimination. Note that state or government agencies may regulate drug tests according to their own standards.

Can Current Employees be Tested? Yes.

Is Certified Testing Required? No.

Laws – No current regulations.

What Can be Tested? No restrictions.

How to Conduct a Legal Drug Test

Step 1 – While not legally required, the employer should obtain the written consent of the subject before proceeding (see Drug Test Release Form). The employer may then obtain one of the following samples from the subject:

  • Blood
  • Breath
  • Hair
  • Saliva
  • Urine

There are no State laws that prohibit an employer from obtaining any type of sample within reason. However, the employer must ensure that the applicant/employee’s privacy is maintained throughout the entire process.

Step 2 – The sample must be taken to a medical laboratory for testing. A list of Washington drug-testing centers can be found here. Alternatively, the test can be brought to one (1) of the SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association) certified laboratories.

Step – Once the tests results are returned to the employer, he/she will be able to view what substances were found in the sample (if any). It is recommended that the employer notifies the applicant or employee if any substances were found. The employer should also allow the individual an opportunity to explain any possible medications which might have interfered with the drug test. If the subject does indeed test positive for drugs or alcohol, they may be terminated or disqualified from employment consideration.