Do real estate agents get drug tested?

Written By Sarah Ford

In real estate, agents don’t just unlock doors to beautiful homes; they unlock dreams. So, when guiding clients through such life-changing decisions, their integrity and professionalism aren’t just good-to-have qualities but must-have. So does that mean real estate agents get drug tested?

While many feel that drug testing is an invasion of privacy to ensure an agent’s competency and professionalism, many clients think that drug testing is necessary to protect themselves from agents who may be impaired by drugs while working. Substance misuse might cloud an agent’s judgment, inviting financial blunders, legal qualms, and tarnished reputations.

So, to answer, do agents get drug tested? It is much more than a simple no or yes. From the potential for pre-employment screens to surprise checks, let’s uncover the whys and whens of these tests.

Read More: Do We Need Real Estate Agents?

1. When Will a Real estate agent Get a Drug Test?

Different employers and sectors may have their own policies and procedures when it comes to drug testing. It’s important to understand the circumstances under which a real estate agent may be subjected to a drug test. Here are a few scenarios in which drug testing is usually done.

Stats on agents getting drug tested

1.1 Before Getting Hired by a brokerage

Before joining a real estate company, many aspiring agents may encounter pre-employment drug testing as part of the hiring process. This isn’t a random hoop to jump through. It is a way for companies to gauge who is fit for their team.

While pre-employment drug testing seems fair, it may raise a few eyebrows. You may question whether it infringes the privacy rights or discriminates against certain groups of people.

1.1.1 Is Drug Testing Mandatory? Can Employees Reject You If You Test Positive?

While drug testing is not a mandatory, brokerages are turning to it on the pretext of safety.

But are they illegal?

Well, the federal government does not have any specific laws that discuss drug testing for real estate agents. Although there are a few laws that briefly address the issue.

For example: The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants or employees based on their race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.

This means two things:
  • Employers cannot refuse to hire or fire an applicant or employee simply because they test positive for drugs.
  • Agents cannot use drugs as a reason to refuse to show a property to a prospective buyer or seller.

In addition, The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also prohibits discrimination in employment against people with disabilities. This means:

Real estate brokerages cannot refuse to hire a real estate agent because of a positive drug test. If the drug use is related to a disability and the person can perform the essential functions of the job with or without reasonable accommodation.

Note: If you feel you have been discriminated because of a positive drug test, contact an attorney.

But here’s the interesting part: despite tests not being mandatory, many brokerage firms have included them not only in their hiring process but also as a recurring activity.

There are a few states that have specific rules for drug testing as well.

For example:

If you are an agent in Texas, as per the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), you are forbidden from participating in any activity that may harm the public interest. So, if being under the influence of drugs hurts the client in any way, you might risk losing your license.

Texas also has another law under the TDLR (the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation) that prohibits real estate agents from being convicted of a felony drug offense.

1.1.2 Pre Employment Screening Process

benefits to pre-employment drug testing and periodic drug testing

Over 36% brokerages drug test job applicants. While still been frowned upon, pre-employment drug testing and periodic drug testing are common practices.

Pre-employment drug testing ensures a safe and drug-free working environment for both agents and clients. The tests are used to identify any potential drug abuse issues that may affect an agent’s performance or pose risks to others.

In addition to pre-employment testing, some employers may also implement periodic drug testing. This can be done to ensure that agents maintain a drug-free lifestyle throughout their employment.

1.2 During Your Tenure with the Brokerage

In addition to pre-employment drug testing, some real estate employers may require agents to undergo random or periodic drug tests during their employment.

These tests serve as proactive measures to ensure ongoing compliance with drug-free policies and maintain a safe working environment for all stakeholders.

Reasons why a brokerage may drug test an you when you are employed:

  • If they have reasonable suspicion that you are using drugs. This could be based on your behavior, such as coming to work late or appearing to be under the influence of drugs.
  • If you have recently met with an accident your brokerage may test you to check whether you are still under the influence of drugs
  • They can randomly test you to deter drug use in the workplace.
  • They can drug test you if you have been absent from duty for a number of days.

By implementing random or periodic drug testing, employers can identify and address any potential substance abuse issues that may arise among their agents. This proactive approach helps maintain the reputation and professionalism of the real estate company while protecting the interests of clients and colleagues.

📖 Also Read: Do real estate agents work on weekends?

2. How does marijuana affect drug testing?

Marijuana, a psychoactive substance derived from the cannabis plant, has gained significant attention in recent years due to evolving laws and societal attitudes towards its use.

Traditionally, drug testing methods, such as hair follicle testing, have been widely used to detect the presence of various substances, including marijuana.

However, with the legalization of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes in many states, there have been discussions and debates surrounding the influence of these laws on drug testing practices.

When it comes to drug testing for marijuana, the primary focus is typically on the presence of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound responsible for the “high” sensation.

THC can be detected in bodily fluids, including urine, blood, and saliva, for a certain period after consumption. However, it’s important to consider that the duration of detectability varies depending on several factors, such as the frequency and intensity of marijuana use, metabolism rate, and individual body chemistry.

2.1 The Case With CBD

Another component of cannabis that has gained attention is CBD (cannabidiol), a non-psychoactive compound known for its potential therapeutic properties.

CBD products, such as oils, creams, and edibles, have become increasingly popular in recent years. It’s essential to understand that CBD products derived from hemp plants contain only trace amounts of THC, often within legal limits.

However, some CBD products sourced from marijuana plants may contain higher levels of THC, which could potentially result in positive drug test results.

If you reside in a jurisdiction where marijuana is illegal, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations and guidelines related to drug testing in the real estate industry. Additionally, staying informed about advancements in drug testing technology can help you navigate the landscape more effectively.

As the legalization of marijuana continues to evolve, it’s anticipated that drug testing practices may undergo adjustments to align with changing laws and societal norms.

It’s essential for real estate agents to remain vigilant and adaptable, ensuring compliance with relevant regulations while prioritizing professionalism and accountability in their roles.

Read More: Can a Real Estate Agent Represent Themselves as a Buyer

3. The Impact of Drug Use on Real Estate Agents:

3.1 Impaired Judgment and Decision-Making

As a real estate agent, your ability to make sound judgments and decisions is vital to the success of your transactions.

However, drug use can significantly impair your cognitive functions and compromise your decision-making abilities. Substance abuse can cloud your judgment, leading to poor choices and potentially costly mistakes.

In the fast-paced and competitive world of real estate, even a small error in judgment can have far-reaching consequences. Misinterpreting contract terms, undervaluing properties, or failing to disclose crucial information can result in financial losses or legal issues for both you and your clients.

Drug use can compromise your attention to detail, critical thinking skills, and overall professionalism, putting your career at risk.

3.2 Accidents and Liability Issues

As a real estate agent you are expected to be alert and precise. Especially with property inspections, client meetings, and negotiations.

If you are under the influence of drugs, your physical coordination, reaction time, and concentration can be significantly impaired. This can increase the likelihood of accidents or worse liability issues.

Drug-related accidents can have severe consequences. Such consequences are not only for you but also for your clients and other parties involved in the transaction.

Whether it’s a slip and fall incident during a property tour or a miscommunication that leads to financial loss, such incidents can land you in legal matters, damage to your reputation, and even have financial repercussions.

Drug use compromises your ability to provide a secure environment, and unable to gain clients or seek career growth.

3.3 Reputation and Professionalism

Real estate agents rely heavily on their reputation and client trust to build a successful career. People talk! One bad experience with a client and they won’t waste a minute to sabotage your reputation.

Imagine if your reputation becomes that of a druggie, how many families do you think will come to you as clients? Or how many luxury homes will you be able to sell in that case?.

Engaging in drug-related activities can lead to rumors, damaged relationships, and a loss of credibility. Clients and colleagues expect real estate agents to demonstrate professionalism, honesty, and integrity at all times.

By maintaining a drug-free lifestyle, you send a clear message that you take your role seriously. And, are committed to upholding the highest ethical standards.

Read More: What to Do if Your Real Estate Agent Doesn’t Respond to You?

4. Ethical Implications of Drug Testing Real Estate Agents

4.1 Invasion of Privacy

 Invasion of Privacy

Do you thinks drug testing is more or less invasion to your privacy? You are not alone! Critics argue that subjecting real estate agents to drug tests infringes upon their personal liberties and violates their right to privacy.

They question whether it is fair for employers to look into an employee’s private life outside of work.

While this is a good argument, it is also true that a drug-free workplace is essential for the safety and well-being of both employees and clients.

Additionally,  Realtors handle sensitive financial transactions and client information, that’s why they should be screened properly.

4.2 Discrimination and Fairness

Potential for discrimination

Another concern surrounding drug testing in the real estate industry is the potential for discrimination against certain groups of people.

Critics argue that drug testing policies may disproportionately affect marginalized individuals or those who may use substances for medicinal purposes.

They question whether drug testing can be conducted fairly and without bias, taking into account the diverse backgrounds and circumstances of real estate agents.

To ensure fairness, it is crucial for employers to implement drug testing policies that are unbiased, non-discriminatory, and considerate of an individual’s specific circumstances.

This may involve providing clear guidelines and accommodations for employees who may be using prescribed medications or substances for valid medical reasons. 

4.3 Safety-Sensitive Positions

A topic of debate within the realm of drug testing is whether it should be limited to safety-sensitive positions within the real estate industry.

Safety-Sensitive Positions

Safety-sensitive positions typically involve direct client interactions or responsibilities that directly impact the safety and security of individuals. Proponents argue that drug testing should be primarily focused on these positions to ensure the highest level of client care and protection.

However, opponents question the necessity of drug testing for real estate agents in non-safety-sensitive roles. They argue that drug testing should be based on the nature of the job and the level of risk involved.

Limiting drug testing to safety-sensitive positions allows for a more targeted approach, ensuring that those directly responsible for client safety and security are thoroughly screened.

Striking a balance between maintaining a drug-free workplace and respecting individual rights is crucial. Employers should carefully evaluate the necessity of drug testing for different positions within the real estate industry, taking into account the potential risks and responsibilities associated with each role.

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5. The Role of State and Federal Law in Drug Testing Real Estate Agents:

5.1 Laws Governing Drug Testing

In the United States, drug testing practices in the real estate industry are subject to various state and federal laws. It is important for both employers and real estate agents to understand the legal framework surrounding drug testing to ensure compliance and protect individual rights.

At the federal level, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires certain federal contractors and grantees to maintain drug-free workplaces.

Although this law does not directly apply to all real estate companies, it sets a precedent for drug-free workplace policies and establishes the importance of maintaining a safe and drug-free environment.

On the state level, laws regarding drug testing can vary significantly. Some states have specific regulations governing drug testing in the workplace, while others may follow general guidelines provided by federal laws.

It is essential for real estate agents and employers to be familiar with the laws in their respective states to ensure compliance and avoid legal issues.

Legal requirements for drug testing typically include obtaining informed consent from the individuals being tested, maintaining confidentiality of test results, and following proper testing procedures.

These procedures may include using certified laboratories, employing trained professionals for sample collection, and conducting tests in a non-discriminatory manner.

5.2 Legal Rights of Real Estate Agents:

Legal Rights of Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents who undergo drug testing have certain legal rights. These rights protect them from unfair practices and violations of privacy. These rights may vary depending on state laws and employment agreements, but common rights include:

  • Right to Consent: Real estate agents have the right to give informed consent before undergoing drug testing. Employers must provide clear information about the testing process, its purpose, and the rights of the individuals being tested.

  • Right to Confidentiality: Real estate agents have the right to expect that their drug test results will be kept confidential. Employers must handle and store this information in a secure manner. They can only share with authorized personnel on a need-to-know basis.

  • Right to Challenge Results: Feel your drug test results are inaccurate or misleading? You can challenge the results through appropriate procedures. This may involve requesting a retest, presenting evidence of prescription medications, or disputing the testing process itself.

  • Right to Protect Professional Reputation: Real estate agents have the right to protect their professional reputation from unjust damage. You can address this issue legally and seek recourse if you believe that the test has negatively impacted your reputation.

Navigating the legal aspects of drug testing in the real estate industry can be complex. Real estate agents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the laws specific to their state. They can seek legal counsel if necessary to ensure their rights are protected.

Also Read: Can You Be a Part-Time Real Estate Agent?

6. The Future of Drug Testing in the Real Estate Industry

6.1 Increasing or Decreasing Commonness

The prevalence of drug testing among real estate companies is a dynamic subject that is influenced by various factors.

While it is challenging to provide a definitive answer on whether drug testing will become more or less common in the future, it is important to examine the current trends and factors that shape the industry.

In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on workplace safety, professionalism, and liability mitigation. These factors have contributed to an increased focus on ensuring a drug-free work environment.

Many real estate companies recognize the importance of maintaining a trustworthy and reliable workforce. This can be achieved through comprehensive drug testing programs.

Evolving laws and regulations, both at the state and federal levels, play a significant role in shaping drug testing practices.

As laws continue to evolve and adapt to societal changes, real estate companies may find themselves compelled to implement or refine their drug testing policies to remain compliant.

6.2 Technological Advancements

Advancements in drug testing technology have the potential to revolutionize drug testing in the real estate industry. These advancements aim to enhance the accuracy, efficiency, and accessibility of drug testing procedures.

For example, the development of rapid point-of-care testing devices allows for immediate drug screening results. This can expedite the hiring process and enable real estate companies to make informed decisions more efficiently.

Advancements in testing methods, such as oral fluid testing and sweat patch testing, offer alternative options to traditional urine or hair follicle testing. These methods may provide greater convenience and flexibility while maintaining reliable detection capabilities.

6.3 Implications for the Real Estate Industry

The future implications of drug testing in the real estate industry are multifaceted and can shape various aspects of the profession.

First and foremost, drug testing can contribute to a more professional and trustworthy image of real estate agents. By maintaining a drug-free work environment, real estate companies can instill confidence in clients and stakeholders, enhancing their reputation and attracting more business opportunities.

Drug testing also plays a crucial role in promoting safer working environments. Real estate agents are responsible for handling significant financial transactions and assisting clients in important decisions.

Ensuring that agents are free from drug-related impairments helps mitigate risks and safeguards the interests of all parties involved.

Drug testing can contribute to improving public perception of the real estate industry. By demonstrating a commitment to maintaining high ethical standards and professionalism, real estate companies can foster trust among the public, ultimately benefiting the industry as a whole.

While it is challenging to predict the exact trajectory of drug testing in the real estate industry, it is clear that maintaining a drug-free work environment will remain a priority for many companies.

By embracing technological advancements, adhering to legal requirements, and recognizing the value of professionalism and safety, the real estate industry can continue to evolve and thrive in the years to come.

The impact of drug use on real estate agents cannot be understated. Substance abuse can impair judgment and decision-making abilities. It leads to poor client representation, errors in contract negotiations, and overall subpar performance. Such compromised performance can have severe consequences, including accidents, liability issues, and damage to an agent’s professional reputation.

📖 Read More: How much is a Real Estate Agent Salary in Georgia?

Bottom Line:

While drug testing is crucial, it raises ethical considerations that must be carefully addressed. One primary concern is the potential invasion of privacy that drug testing entails. Real estate agents, like all individuals, have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Therefore, drug testing policies should strike a balance between ensuring a drug-free workplace and respecting an individual’s privacy rights. Discrimination is another ethical concern, as testing practices should be fair and unbiased, without targeting specific individuals or groups.

Both state and federal laws play a role in regulating drug testing procedures. Agents should be aware of their legal rights. This includes the requirement for consent, confidentiality safeguards, and potential legal remedies in case of violations. By being informed about these legal aspects, real estate agents can confidently navigate drug testing procedures and protect their rights.

As the real estate industry continues to evolve, so do drug testing practices. The prevalence of drug testing may change over time, influenced by shifting laws, societal attitudes, and advancements in testing methods. T

echnological innovations may lead to the development of more efficient and accurate testing techniques. Staying informed about these advancements and adapting to evolving drug testing practices is crucial for real estate professionals to maintain a successful and reputable career.

Also Read: Realtor Fee Newyork: How Much Money do Real Estate Agents Make in New York?

Written By:

  • An experienced marketing consultant with a decade of hands-on experience in real estate. You might catch her at a local jazz bar on a Friday night or at home experimenting with vertical kitchen gardens.

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