(NaturalNews) Having to urinate in small containers to provide urine specimens for any reason is not something most of us look forward to. But when it comes to random drug testing for the sake of ensuring an employer has a drug free environment, it can be a harrowing experience, especially if a faulty drug test causes termination.
Random drug testing of employees is done without probable cause. The tests are not always accurate, and even when accurate, it only proves that an illegal drug may have been used recently.
If someone who works a desk job at a place that is really strict on this drug free workplace nonsense smoked pot on Saturday night, then that person could be called in for a urine specimen on Monday.
The specimen gets sent out, and the results show traces of marijuana. Although this person's job is not safety related and that person has been doing the job well for a few years, he or she could lose that job or be forced to undergo drug rehab to keep it.
This whole invasive drug testing scheme was initiated by president Ronald Reagan in 1986. According to a 2002 ACLU publication, workplace drug testing had increased 277% since 1987 by then.
This has resulted in several court cases involving unfair suspensions and terminations, often handled by ACLU or labor union lawyers for the industries involved. That adds up to a lot of money wasted in litigation and suit awards in addition to losing employee production unnecessarily.
Injustice and waste from workplace enforcement of overzealous drug laws
Ironically, the penalties for suspicion of cheating drug tests are worse than finding drug traces in urine samples.
According to a 2001 report from Northwest Labor Press, "Workers can face sanctions if they're unable to urinate soon enough or in large enough quantity, if they refuse to urinate, if they show up late for the test, if their urine appears too diluted or is suspected of being adulterated, or, sometimes, if they test positive for legal prescription medicines."
All of those situations are often considered attempts to cheat the test. Some folks are a bit shy about urinating into a small container while being closely watched. Even if not watched, there are times when there's not enough in the bladder to satisfy that minimum level.
When there is an insufficient amount of urine required for testing results, more samples are demanded, or the employee comes under suspicion of avoiding sample analysis.
Several incidents of employees being fired for urine specimens too pure have occurred. A certain minimum amount of creatinine is expected to be in urine samples. If that minimum amount isn't in the urine, it's assumed that it was intentionally diluted by drinking lots of pure water prior to testing.
But random testing is random. And one could be drinking lots of water for other reasons than cheating the drug test.
A few court cases illustrated in the NW Labor Press regarding Delta Air Lines flight attendants and pilots proved that cases of too little creatinine in samples resulting in termination of long standing employees were the fault of a very large prestigious lab having undisclosed faulty equipment problems.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen have shown up positive on the marijuana test. Even poppy seeds found in baked goods can produce a positive result for heroin. Some prescription drugs also create issues with testing.
An employer has a right to not permit intoxication by any substance on the job. But random drug testing doesn't prove job impairment. Traces can be found days after off-job use. Even if one does any kind of drug while working, what's the issue if that person is not impaired?
Laws governing employer drug testing vary from state to state. But random drug checking for all transportation-related occupations is enforced by Federal Law.
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