Texas to Require Drug Screening for Unemployment Benefits

By Michael Klazema on 6/25/2013

Pre-employment screening is standard practice in many fields, but unemployment screening is a relatively new concept.

Texas Governor Rick Perry recently signed off on Senate Bill 21, which will require individuals receiving unemployment benefits to pass periodic drug tests. The new law will only apply to Texans who work in fields where pre-employment drug testing is mandatory under federal law.

Pre-employment drug testing is required for many fields according to the United States Department of Labor. For example, airline pilots and truck drivers are examples of positions in which drug use could pose a serious safety risk, and therefore drug testing is required.

However, private employers may require drug testing for other positions at their own discretion. Pre-employment drug testing is considered an important part of the background check process, because it can help employers protect themselves from unwittingly hiring an individual who could prove to be a poor performer or even a liability, in the case of drug users who cause accidents at work. With help from, any employer can quickly and easily set up an employee drug screening program using our highly reputable substance abuse testing provider. can provide a full range of pre-employment background check services for private employers. Job candidates with criminal convictions can be identified using’s US OneSEARCH tool, which compares an individual’s name and address against a comprehensive database consisting of records compiled from local offices in every state of the Union, plus DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam.

While criminal convictions are important red flags to look out for in the hiring process, so are lies. Many job candidates lie on their resumes or job applications, making it necessary for employers to use tools like Education and Employment Verification from in order to prove that the candidate is representing their qualifications honestly.

Some lawmakers fear that individuals may be lying about their need for unemployment benefits as well. According to a statement from Perry, the new law is designed to limit the amount of unemployment dollars that are siphoned off by those who misuse the system, and thereby improve the state’s ability to provide support to individuals who are truly in need.

The reasoning for requiring unemployment drug testing is that it proves that the individuals in question are truly dedicated to finding work in their chosen fields. Because drug testing is required for new employment in these fields, obviously an individual must be free of drug use in order to be an effective job seeker. Failure to stay clean indicates a lack of commitment to finding work and a violation of the conditions for receiving unemployment benefits in the eyes of Texas lawmakers.

Unemployment drug screening may also help the individuals currently collecting unemployment and looking for jobs, because it will provide an extra incentive to refrain from drug use. It also helps ensure that, should an individual find a job opportunity, they won’t fail the pre-employment drug test and be denied employment.

According to Dallas lawyer Steve Fink, the new law might also have a small benefit to employers. If the law succeeds in weeding out individuals who are abusing the system, this may result in lowered costs for employers, who fund the unemployment benefits program through taxes.

Detractors of the new law point out that it only affects a small portion of individuals collecting unemployment benefits, and therefore seems more symbolic than practical.


Founded during the Internet boom in 1999 by an executive in both the staffing and information industry, – a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) – has been able to create a service that provides a blend of flexible screening programs that included instant, cost effective and comprehensive solutions. Our experience in database modeling of public records information has led to become the leader in the acquisition and delivery of public records information by harnessing the power and technology of the Internet. To learn more visit



Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • March 22 Countrywide, states and local municipalities have committed to ban the box legislation, seeking to equalize opportunities in the job market for those with criminal histories.
  • March 22

    Thinking about becoming a firefighter? Here are some of the background check requirements you might face.

  • March 20

    Four Department of Commerce employees are out after their background checks resulted in security clearance denials. All four had worked high-ranking positions for months despite incomplete background checks.

  • March 15 As more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, they contend with the emergence of new industries surrounding marijuana cultivation and production. 
  • March 14 In most cases, it is easy to determine where an issue might show up on a pre-employment background check. Citations for traffic violations or reckless driving charges will appear on a motor vehicle record check. Verdicts in a civil court case will show on a civil court background check. And criminal convictions—from petty theft to violent felonies—show up on criminal background checks.
  • March 13 How many years back do employment background checks go? This question can have multiple different answers depending on the situation.
  • March 13 A new bill in Florida would require landlords of apartment complexes to present tenants with verifications of employee background checks to give them peace of mind the people working in and around their homes are trustworthy.
  • March 08 Police officers working with the University of Texas at Arlington recently arrested a man who had avoided police capture on a warrant out of Oregon for nearly two decades. The man, whose real name is Daniel Charles Ray Hanson, spent those 17 years using a variety of fake names and identification documents to move around the country, often engaging with educational institutions under false pretenses. Police say Hanson regularly went by at least three different aliases. He sports a rap sheet that stretches back to an arson conviction in 1995. 
  • March 07

    The Future of EEOC Guidance in Texas Is Up in the Air

    The EEOC issued guidance in 2012 warning employers about the dangers of enforcing categorical policies to bar candidates with criminal histories. That guidance is not enforceable in Texas thanks to a recent court ruling.

  • March 05 Vermont is the latest state to restrict employers’ access to and use of social media accounts of employees and applicants.