Information, Tips and News
November 2014
 Updated Disclosure Forms are Available!

It seems almost yearly we are notified of additions to the Disclosure and Authorization Form used for background screening, either due to  ever-changing legislation and/or to ensure compliance with Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).  At Occuscreen we continuously update the sample form we offer, to help our clients stay compliant with their screening program.  The newest version of the form is now available for use.  For a hard copy form, simply email or call (details below).  If you are utilizing the electronic Disclosure and Release form (QuickApp process), the updates will automatically take effect and no further action is needed.  For more information on Disclosure and Release forms, see the article "Reviewing your Disclosure and Authorization Forms" below.


Need a new sample disclosure form? Just ask!

Need a Spanish Version? We can provide that as well.

Email info@occuscreen.com or call 888-833-5304



Workforce Drug Test Positivity Rate Increases for the First Time in 10 Years

Quest Diagnostics


Per the September 2014 report from national lab, Quest Diagnostics; The percentage of positive drug tests among American workers has increased for the first time in more than a decade, fueled by a rise in marijuana and amphetamines, according to an analysis of 8.5 million urine, oral fluid and hair workplace drug test results released today by Quest Diagnostics (NYSE: DGX), the world's leading provider of diagnostic information services.


"After years of declines, the prevalence of positive workforce drug tests is increasing," said Dr. Barry Sample, director, science and technology, Quest Diagnostics Employer Solutions, a business of Quest Diagnostics. "This increase indicates that employers should be aware of the potential for drug use by their workers and the risk that represents for the health and safety of their employees and the public."


Not suprisingly, the biggest increases were in Colorado and Washington where recreational marijuana has been legalized.

Colorado and Washington showed marijuana positivity rates increased 20 and 23 percent, respectively, in the general workforce between 2012 and 2013, compared to the 5 percent average increase among the U.S. general workforce in all fifty states.


"What we do know is that workforce positivity for marijuana is definitely on the rise across the United States. It is important for people to remember that while some states have legalized marijuana, the federal government has not. Employers generally have the authority to restrict the 'recreational' use of marijuana by employees and impose sanctions, including termination, on employees with positive drug tests in all 50 states," added Dr. Sample.


 If you have any questions regarding workforce drug testing options, please contact Occuscreen at info@occuscreen.com.




Marijuana Leaf  

Marijuana Legalized Coast to Coast... Sort of

By Bill Current

Note: This article is provided for educational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. The reader retains full responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws relative to drug testing

A majority of Floridians (57%) voted on November 4 in favor of legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes but the initiative failed to reach the minimum 60% required to change the state's constitution to permit medical marijuana. Other that, November 4 was a stellar day for the pro marijuana movement with two states, Alaska and Oregon, plus the District of Columbia voting to legalize pot for recreational use a la Colorado and Washington. (Guam also voted to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.)

Congress can overturn D.C.'s new law, and perhaps our elected officials will, but marijuana is now legal in two more states.  What does this mean for employers? Do these new laws contain any language to protect workplaces from the ill effects of workers who are under the influence? Remember, while Colorado's recreational marijuana bill did contain a workplace provision, Washington's bill did not and still doesn't now that it's a law.

In Oregon, 54 percent of voters supported the marijuana bill, which is now scheduled to take effect in July 2015. In Alaska, 52 percent voted in favor of legalizing marijuana. A state commission will have nine months to develop regulations once the vote is finalized.

The good news is both the Alaska and Oregon initiatives include workplace provisions. As you will note in the following language, taken verbatim from the bills that were passed, lawmakers left many questions unanswered such as: Can employers test for marijuana? And what happens when someone tests positive? 


Alaska - Ballot Measure 2 - Recreational Marijuana

Amends Alaska Statutes Title 17 by adding a new chapter - Chapter 38 "The Regulation of Marijuana."

Sec. 17.38.120. Employers, driving, minors and control of property.

 "(a) Nothing in this chapter is intended to require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of marijuana in the workplace or to affect the ability of employers to have policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees."

Oregon - Measure 91 - Recreational Marijuana

Creates a new statute.  SECTION 4. Limitations. Sections 3 to 70 states that the Act may not be construed:

"(1) To amend or affect in any way any state or federal law pertaining to employment matters..."

Washington DC - Initiative 71 - Recreational Marijuana

Amends Section 401 of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 1981. It includes this workplace-related language:

"(4) Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require any district government agency or office, or any employer, to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of marijuana in the workplace or to affect the ability of any such agency, office or employer to establish and enforce policies restricting the use of marijuana by employees."


For additional information or questions please contact bill@billcurrent.com or info@occuscreen.com 



Reviewing Your Disclosure and Authorization Forms


Several class action lawsuits have come into the news recently against employers, regarding their disclosure and authorization forms for background screening.The disclosure cannot be part of an application, nor can it have waiver of liability information.


So what can be on the Disclosure Authorization Form?

  • The type of searches which may be performed for the background screen (i.e. criminal searches/education verifications), with keeping sensitive to state restrictions such as the California restriction on credit checks.  However, if you don't list it you can't obtain it.
  • The actual acknowledgement and authorization, which allows the employer to use the Consumer Reporting Agency (screening vendor) to obtain the type of information listed on the form.
  • State Restrictions/Requirements- For example, a notification section allowing a consumer to request a copy of their consumer report (CA, MN or OK).  The Federal Trade Commission however, has cautioned against making the forms too confusing.  If a state restriction does not apply to your company and applicants, removing that information might be in your best interest.
  • CRA contact information and instructions on how consumers can request a copy of their consumer report.

Along with the stand-alone disclosure and authorization, it is required that you provide your applicants with the Summary of Rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Remember, the FCRA regulates all information you get through a Consumer Reporting Agency like Occuscreen. It does not apply to Credit Reports only!

We strong recommend updating your forms again, as we have a new version on file.


Need a new sample disclosure form? Just ask!

Need a Spanish Version? We can provide that as well.

Email info@occuscreen.com or call 888-833-5304


Electronic Background and Drug Screen Forms

Did you know Occuscreen can offer a paperless system for your Disclosure and Authorization forms and/or your drug screen  Custody and Control forms (Chain of Custody Drug Screen forms)? An electronic process can  streamline the onboarding of your applicants, along with reducing the "paper trail" in your screening process.  Ask us about the options detailed below for online forms.


Online Disclosure and Release forms:  Occuscreen's "Quick App" process allows you to email an electronic Disclosure and Authorization Form (via a secure link) to your applicant for online completion.  Once the form is completed, an email alert is automatically sent so you can submit the order for processing.  All of this at no additional charge!


Online Custody and Control FormsElectronic drug testing forms can be created for employees using Quest or LabCorp collection sites.  The forms can be forwarded to applicant's via email, eliminating the need for hard copies in your office. 


Please contact us for questions about these processes, and other options by emailing info@occuscreen.com or calling 888-833-5304.


Please let us know if there are questions, or areas of interest you would like us to address in future newsletters, or if you are interested in information on partnering with Occuscreen for employment screening.


Pamela Mack



In This Issue
Workplace Drug Test Positivity Rate Increase
Marijuna Legalization
Review Your Disclosure Forms
Online Forms Available
Legal updates

Legal Updates


Legalization of Recreational Marijuana


Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia passed initiatives legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Each measure provides that the new law doesn't prevent employers from restricting pot use by their employees.


See article "Marijuana Legalized Coast to Coast...Sort of" in this newsletter for more info.


Ban The Box - Updates


District of Columbia

(date pending)

D.C. will prohibit employers from both inquiring about criminal history information during the application process and obtaining a criminal background check until after a conditional offer of employment is made to the applicant.


Illinios (1/1/15)

Prohibits employers  from considering or inquiring into a job applicant's criminal record or history until the individual has been determined qualified for the position and notified of an impending interview, or, if the applicant will not be interviewed, until after a conditional offer of employment is made


New Jersey (3/1/15)

Legislation will bar employers of 15 or more from conducting criminal background checks at the start of the employment application process, beginning when the applicant first makes an inquiry to an employer and ending when the employer has interviewed the applicant and selected that person as its first choice to fill the position.

New York - Rochester


Rochester become the second city in New York to "ban the box," by adopting legislation restricting the timing of pre-employment inquiries by most Rochester public and private employers into a candidate's criminal history.






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