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Weekend Roundup: Continuous Background Checks and Drug Testing Milestones

A higher rate of workers tested positive for drugs last year than at any time since 2004. That’s a big reason why New York City has taken the unprecedented step of banning employers from testing job applicants for marijuana, the most commonly detected substance in drug tests. One of the country’s most successful ride-sharing companies, on the other hand, is beefing up its testing, enacting continuous background checks on its drivers to help screen felons from its platform. Find out how these new milestones could soon affect your business in today’s Weekend Roundup:

Lyft Rolls Out Continuous Background Checks for Drivers and Enhanced Identity Verification

Lyft is beefing up its driver background check process with two new features it says are intended to “[improve] the safety and security of [its] platform.” It today announced continuous background checks and enhanced identity verification, both of which will roll out in the coming days to weeks.

Toward that end, continuous criminal background checks will monitor drivers daily and immediately notify Lyft of “any disqualifying criminal convictions,” the company says. Active drivers who don’t pass an annual screening—which includes a Social Security number trace, nationwide criminal search, county court records search, federal criminal search, and a U.S. Department of Justice 50-state sex offender registry search, in addition to continuous screenings will be barred from the platform. It’s unclear if they can become eligible to reapply.

Positive Workforce Drug Tests Hit Highest Rate Since 2004

The rate of workforce drug positivity hit a 14-year high in 2018, according to analysis released today by drug-testing firm Quest Diagnostics.

Positivity rates in urine drug tests in the combined US workforce rose to 4.4% in 2018, up from 4.2% in 2017. This is the highest level since 4.5% in 2004 and higher than the 30-year low of 3.5% recorded between 2010 and 2012.

Marijuana remains the most commonly detected substance across all workforce categories: general US workforce; federally mandated, safety-sensitive workforce; and combined US workforce, which includes the prior two populations.

Marijuana Testing of Job Applicants Is Barred by NYC in Groundbreaking Measure

Most employers in New York City would no longer be able to force job applicants to take drug tests for marijuana use, under a bill overwhelmingly approved this week by the New York City Council.

If the drug-screening law is enacted, it would put New York in relatively uncharted territory. Several drug policy and employment experts said that they did not know of similar laws on the books, even in states that have legalized marijuana.

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