Consistency Is Key for Occupational Drug Testing

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There are a few scenarios in occupational drug testing that require us to look deeper into a company policy on how to proceed.  Here are some examples:

If a test comes back as “negative dilute” do you know if you want the employee retested? Or do you want to accept the result as a negative test?

If a urine sample is given to us out of temperature range (and it’s a non-DOT test) do you require the second test to be done under direct observation?  Or should you just have the person give another sample until it is within testing range?

Do you have a time limit on how long the donor has to get to the testing site?  If so, how do you proceed if the donor does not test within that time frame?

These, along with a few other less frequent scenarios, unfortunately tend to have different answers.

Many times, when we are given a contact for the company in question, and it’s a safety person or manager, they will try to base their decision on the person in question.  They will give us answers like… “Oh, I’m not worried about that guy, he’s clean…”

I hate to be so bold as to tell you that this is the wrong way to think of the answer, but it is.

Decide The Answer BEFORE You Need to Know

You should never base your answer on your opinion of the person in question.  Instead, decide how you would want to proceed with ANYONE in your company and use that answer every single time.

Yes,  regardless of whether you believe they are likely on drugs or not.

There is one critical reason I am adamant about you having one answer to these questions (and sticking to it every single time)…

When your decision to terminate or discipline an employee ends up in court (and it is a “when” not an “if”) one of the first things they will look at is consistency of your decisions over time with respect to your occupational drug testing program.

If you make consistent decisions every single time, it strengthens your policy in a legal setting AND within your organization.

Apply It Even to the “Saints”

So, next time you are faced with how to handle an outlier, your first reference point should be to check what your company has done in the past.  Even if the person in question is a complete saint and you have zero concern for their substance abuse habits, you should still proceed the exact same way you have in the past.

Outside of the legal perspective in consistency, your company culture depends on consistency as well.  The better your employees can see that you make consistent personnel decisions, the more trust you build within your organization.

Click here to see how Lobdock can help you create a culture of safety with proper implementation of drug testing policies that are smart, efficient, and effective.

About the Author Susan Lobsinger

Susan is founder and President of Lobdock Impairment Detection, a full-service, mobile drug testing and contractor compliance management provider. Lobdock provides safety managers with the objective data they need to make safety decisions that make a difference in the lives, safety, and health of their employees who work in safety sensitive positions.

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