While many companies have policies that ensure employees do not use unauthorized substances in the workplace, at Costco the adopted guidelines are friendly and require a written consent form that is signed to authorize testing.

Costco has implemented a straightforward policy on alcohol and drug testing.

This policy ensures the health and safety of employees, members, and suppliers with regard to a safe working and shopping environment.

Facts About Costco’s Drug Testing

The alcohol and drug testing regime at Costco (Costco Wholesale Drug And Alcohol-Free Workplace Policy) incorporates four situations that warrant compliance from job applicants and employees.

Pre-Employment Testing

If you are seeking employment at Costco, you will go through the normal interview process. However, as a final applicant being considered for a position, you will be required to pass a drug test before you receive an unconditional offer of employment. All rehires for part-time, full-time or seasonal employment must also pass the test before they begin working for the company.

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Reasonable Suspicion Testing

If you have been hired and are already working at Costco and a manager suspects that you are using or are under the influence of an unauthorized substance, you may be required to undergo an alcohol and/or drug test. A manager may deduce this from objective factors, such as your speech and behavior while conducting company business or utilizing company equipment, vehicles or machinery. Any other information specific to your workplace, drawn from facts and based on reasonable conclusions, can be used to initiate this testing.

Post-Accident Testing

In the case of a work-related accident, you may be required to submit to a drug and alcohol test, if the company reasonably believes that you contributed or directly caused it. In this situation, the accident may have caused injury to yourself or another person who requires off-site medical treatment or may have resulted in damage to company property, machinery, equipment or vehicles.

In the immediate aftermath of such an accident, you are required to notify your manager even when the injury or damage is minor. The test is conducted as soon as possible following the accident and you are at that point removed from the execution of safety-sensitive functions until the final results of the test are available.

Return to Duty and Follow-Up Testing

If you are an employee of Costco who has signed a Contract for Continued Employment (CCE) and you have undergone a substance abuse evaluation, passing alcohol and/or drug test is mandatory before you are allowed to return to duty.

The evaluation may have been done through the Care Network or using other resources. The Care Network has licensed providers who are qualified or certified in alcohol and drug abuse treatment, counseling, workplace issues, and other related areas.

However, even if you pass this test, you will still be subject to follow-up testing for a period of up to two years, at times and frequencies determined by the company.

Conducting A Drug Test At Costco

If you are a job applicant and you refuse to undergo a drug test or you test positive for drugs, then Costco will not hire you. There is a one year waiting period before you will be eligible to reapply for employment with the company.

A Costco employee who refuses to undergo a drug test or tests positive will have their employment terminated.

The company uses oral swabs to test specimens for marijuana, opiates such as heroin and morphine, cocaine, amphetamines, phencyclidine, benzodiazepine, methadone, and MET. Other substances may also be tested according to dictates of applicable law.

In case of an accident, an employee will be required to also provide urine samples for post-incident testing.

Oral Fluid Drug Testing

This is a simple method where the oral fluid is collected under direct observation. This prevents the possibility of specimen adulteration. This test can detect a drug in the oral fluid up to 48 hours after last use.

The initial screening test is done using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) microplate technology. The oral fluid specimens are tested for the following drugs:

  • Cannabinoid (THC)
  • Cocaine
  • Opiates (codeine, morphine, 6-acetylmorphine)
  • Propoxyphene
  • Barbiturates
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Amphetamine/methamphetamine/ecstasy
  • Ethyl Alcohol

If the initial screening is positive, the sample is confirmed through mass spectrometry.

Urine Drug Screening

For urine tests, specimen validity testing is performed simultaneously with the initial drug screens. This is aimed at reducing instances of tampering. Testing for creatinine and specific gravity are used to identify substituted, adulterated or dilute specimens. Specimen validity test results are evaluated by a Medical Review Officer.

  1. Substituted specimen - This is identified by extreme creatinine and specific gravity results. The specimen could be water or water with salt in it.
  2. Adulterated specimen - Another product is added to the specimen to mask the presence of a drug.
  3. Diluted specimen - ingestion of large amounts of water before urine donation. Such a specimen may result in a false negative.

Presumptive positive drug screens are normally confirm using Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS).

Urine drug tests are able to detect any of the following substances:

  • Marijuana metabolite
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Hydrocodone/hydromorphone
  • Oxycodone/oxymorphone
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Methadone
  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Amphetamine
  • Opiates
  • Barbiturates
  • Propoxyphene

Importance of Drug Testing At Costco

The company’s policy on alcohol and drug testing is set to achieve several objectives:

  • To identify potential impairments that may lead to a workplace incident – injury or death of the concerned employee or fellow workers due to slower reaction time or difficulty in comprehension.
  • To address productivity issues that arise from substance use – poor coordination, lateness, absenteeism (which could arise from hospital morbidity) and a decrease in attention span.
  • To prevent potential damage to the organization’s reputation.
  • Post-incident testing helps to protect the company if there is any litigation arising from the accident.

Resources

  1. National Safety Council. The importance of workplace drug testing.
  2. Costco Wholesale. Drug And Alcohol-Free Workplace Policy.