South Carolina Drug Testing Laws 2024

South Carolina Drug Testing Laws 2024

The South Carolina Drug-Free Workplace Act does not make any provision for workplace drug testing. However, employers in the state are not prohibited from conducting drug tests on employees. The Drug-Free Workplace Act qualifies employers with certified drug-free policies for state grants and contracts above $50,000. Local governments in South Carolina may also create drug-free policies that align with state and federal laws. Organizations in South Carolina that receive federal grants and contracts are required by the Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act to have drug testing policies.

Medical and recreational marijuana are illegal in South Carolina. As a result, state laws do not provide workplace protections for cannabis users.

What Kinds of Drug Tests Can Employers Conduct in South Carolina?

South Carolina employers can screen employees for drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and phencyclidine. Also, drug tests for cannabis, which detect THC metabolites in the bloodstream, are common in South Carolina. Employers can conduct drug tests for different purposes, including:

  • Pre-employment Drug Testing: This usually takes place during the hiring process to ensure that prospective employees do not have illegal substances in their system
  • Post-accident Drug Testing: Employers may carry out this drug test after workplace accidents to determine if drug use contributed to such incidents
  • Reasonable Suspicion Drug Testing: This is conducted on employees suspected to be under the influence of drugs based on observed behavior or performance issues
  • Post-rehabilitation Drug Testing: Employees who have undergone drug rehabilitation programs may be tested to ensure ongoing abstinence
  • Fitness-for-duty Drug Testing: This test may occur to assess an employee's overall fitness for duty, including their ability to perform job-related tasks safely.
  • Random drug testing: This drug test can be conducted at unpredictable intervals without advance notice to maintain a continuous commitment to a drug-free workplace

Employers can request varying drug test samples from employees based on the privacy of the testing process. For instance, saliva tests involving oral fluid collection are less invasive than blood, urine, and hair testing.

Can Employers Do Random Drug Testing in South Carolina?

Yes, South Carolina does not restrict employers from conducting random drug testing. However, employers must provide detailed procedures for such drug testing in their employee handbooks or employment contracts. The drug testing policies should also outline the frequency, methods, and consequences of random drug testing. Employees must consent to companies' drug testing policies as a condition of employment. South Carolina Code, Section 38-73-500, offers a 5% workers' compensation insurance premium discount to employers who implement random testing.

What Happens if You Fail a Drug Test in South Carolina for a Job?

The consequences for failing workplace drug tests in South Carolina depend on the employer's drug policies. Many employers in the state have strict guidelines against drug use, especially for employees in safety-sensitive positions. Positive drug test results may result in job loss, suspension, or rescinded job offer. Some employers offer employee awareness programs, drug abuse education, counseling services, or rehabilitation to certain workers for employees who test positive for workplace drug tests. Employees who fail drug tests and retain their positions may face probation, increased scrutiny, or mandatory follow-up testing. Furthermore, failed drug tests can lead to the loss of certain employment benefits, as stipulated in South Carolina Code 42-9-60.

Can I Be Fired for Refusing a Drug Test in South Carolina?

Yes. In South Carolina, refusing to participate in workplace drug tests may result in being fired. Affected employees can challenge such job termination by following the steps below:

  • Consult a legal adviser in South Carolina
  • Review the company's drug testing policies and employment contracts
  • Report to relevant state agencies such as the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission
  • File a lawsuit against the employer

Can You Get Fired for Failing a Drug Test with a Medical Card in South Carolina?

South Carolina prohibits medical marijuana. As a result, employees who fail drug tests for cannabis may lose their jobs regardless of whether it was used for medical purposes.

Can Employers Conduct Drug Tests on Applicants in South Carolina?

South Carolina does not prohibit employers from drug testing job applicants during the interview stage. However, employers must provide written drug screening guidelines to job applicants before conducting pre-employment tests. An employer's drug policy handbook should include the following:

  • Drug tests to be conducted and the types of specimens required
  • Drug testing procedures
  • Consequences of refusing or failing drug tests

Is Pre-Employment Drug Testing Allowed in South Carolina?

Although there are no South Carolina pre-employment drug testing laws, employers are not restricted from conducting drug tests on new hires. Note that drug testing policies for newly hired employees differ by employer.

Does South Carolina Allow Public Agencies to Submit Employees to Workplace Drug Tests?

South Carolina drug testing laws apply to both private and public employers. Like private sector employers, public agencies must also provide employees and job applicants with copies of drug testing policies before conducting workplace drug tests.

Can Employers Choose to Create Drug-Free Workplace Policies?

South Carolina allows employers to create and implement drug-free workplace programs. Such policies should include the following:

  • Statements informing employees that possession, distribution, and consumption of controlled substances is prohibited
  • Consequences of violating drug policies
  • Drug testing procedures
  • Specific confidentiality measures during the drug testing process
  • Drug awareness programs

Employees Exempted From South Carolina Workplace Drug Testing Laws

Generally, federal employees in South Carolina are not subject to the state’s Drug-Free Workplace Act. Federal agencies typically create drug-free policies, which may differ from state laws. Also, employees taking up safety-sensitive job roles may need to undergo additional drug tests from federal agencies such as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the Department of Transportation (DOT), or the Department of Defense (DOD).

What are the Requirements for Drug Testing Labs in South Carolina?

Employers in South Carolina must conduct workplace drug tests in approved laboratories. Generally, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends drug testing employees in labs that have the following requirements:

  • Testing labs must have qualified personnel, including medical review officers
  • Implementing quality control measures to maintain the accuracy of drug test results
  • SAMHSA-approved and participating in regular proficiency testing programs
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