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Is it legal to send an employee for a random drug test if he is not at work but supposed to be? All employees must sign random drug test policy upon hire but it does not specify if they need to be on the premises to do so.

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Author: bbaker24: Add as a Colleague
Posted: 05/31/2011  11:58:46 AM EDT
Tags: random drug test |

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View ProfileVicki Bartelt: Add as a ColleagueAdd as a Colleague
05/31/2011 1:49:59 PM EDT

First, unless you are government regulated, such as a DOT (Department of Transportation) company or perform it post-incident/acident, random drug testing is illegal in many states. You might first want to check to see if it is legal in your state. If he is not on the premises, what is your just cause to perform this? Was there an incident/accident while on duty, either on or off premises?

Second, if you can legally drug test him, he should be tested within 48 hours of the incident/your order for drugs; immediately, if alcohol-related. Otherwise, the body cleans itself within that time, except for marijuana, which can stay up to a month, depending on usage.

Third, testing should be at a NIDA-certified testing facility--many urgent care facilities have them. These places follow proper chain-of-custody and testing procedures, along with taking a split sample in case your test is legally challenged.

These testing facilities also have an MRO (Medical Review Officer) with whom they are affiliated to review the test and speak with your employee, if necessary, about any irregularities; then, they make a final call. Irregularities can show up if your employee takes other prescribed medications that contain controlled substances or even eats a bagel with poppy seeds, which could show as heroin. The MRO determines if that quantity is enough to skew the test and sends you the final results. If your employee challenges the test, it must be done with the other half of the original sample. A test done by another doctor days later will most likely have clean results.

Fourth, fax your request to the testing center of his pending arrival and have them notify you if he shows up or not. If he is off premises, have him report directly to the testing center.

Finally, failure to report for a drug test under such standards and procedures could be justification for suspension and even dismissal. If you value this employee and if the incident is not too serious (erratic behavior v. accident), you could suspend and allow reinstatement pending enrollment in and/or successful completion of a drug rehabilitation program.

P.S. I hope your drug testing policy agreement has objective standards that include the proper disclosure to the employee of his rights, including the right to challenge, which must be done with the split sample at his own expense.

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