thoughts, opinions, and experiences requested. drug testing in the workplace

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    Please don't assume I'm seeking information for selfish reasons. I'm am grateful to be clean and sober since July 2012.

    These questions came up during a friendly debate with my brother. He's of the opinion that all forms of drug testing should be illegal, I don't want the government in my business types. He's a nut and I love him!

    Some questions came up that google couldn't answer!! I just want to make clear that this post is curiosity motivated only.

    Has anyone ever ben asked for an "observed urine collection" pre-employment drug test. I always thought (not sure why) that observed urine collection was illegal by employers in Texas, and only allowed for court ordered, probation related types of situations. He said that's not true and it's at the employers discretion. Any answers out there??

    We also debated the legalities of pre-employment screening. Can an employer demand the test be observed as a condition of employment. If you think like a lawyer....you could reasonably argue that "a requirement of employment involves allowing a stranger to see your genitalia."

    I can't recall ever having a pre-job test that was observed. Has anyone ever experienced that? I have had an observed collection at the hospital when a bunch of us had to test when the narc count was off. It didn't bother me because I understand the rules are different in healthcare...but I can see how it might bother someone.

    And why is it that hospitals send you to an outside lab for pre-employment testing, use the hospital's own lab for post accident or random testing, and collect the specimen in house and then send to an outside lab for a reasonable suspicion drug test?

    Recently Baylor announced that all new hires are required to do mouth swabs for tobacco use and they will not hire a smoker. Does that mean down the line they could randomly test employees or become suspicious that someone has started smoking, then terminate?

    Also, I find it interesting that with TPAPN participants (the Texas peer assistance program for nurses in recovery) randoms are unobserved. The paperwork says that they CAN request hair, blood, urine, and saliva. I'm curious if anyone has ever been asked for hair, blood, or saliva while in a state managed nurse recovery program? It seems to me that hair testing gives more information and is harder to "trick" than urine. I have no idea the cost, but my understanding is hair testing goes back 90 days. If I'm in charge of hiring people, i would rather know if they had used in the last 3 months vs the last 3 days.

    Have anyone been asked for hair, blood, or saliva during a pre employment or while employed in healthcare?
    Last edit by JustBeachyNurse on Dec 6, '12 : Reason: formatting correction

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  2. 12 Comments...

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    There is a hospital system in my area that does hair testing. I was surprised by that, but they do. I assume for the reasons you stated...people can put off testing or get lucky and pass a test if it's only in the uring for 2-3 days.

    I had to take a test not long ago and it was urine. Nobody watched, but I remember the papers I had to sign said something like...if the specimen was suspicious to the lab person (who was a nurse) that they could have me test again and be observed by someone of the same gender. I'm sure someone could refuse that, but of course wouldn't get the job.

    I don't have to worry about drug testing, but I agree with your brother actually. I saw someone here from Canada say that they don't do pre-employment drug testing there. Canada seems to be way more liberal in a lot of aspects though...I like it. I don't see why anyone should be drug tested unless there's suspicion. I mean, if you're functioning well enough that nobody knows then obviously there's not a problem big enough that it's impacting your work, right?

    Oh well. Until then...I just pee in the cup, give up my hair, whatever. I need a job.
    LisaRNsober likes this.
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    I am in Canada. We don 't do any form of drug testing.
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    I agree, or at least nearly, with your broher. Only for cause, and need two persons to concur.
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    I'm not sure how laws vary from state to state; I wasn't a nurse when I lived in Texas and am not familiar with the laws there now.

    At my first hospital, I had to do an observed urine for pre-employment...at labcorp of all places. I didn't care but was surprised. At the second, they didn't observe the urine collection but I found out rather quickly why not: they draw blood immediately following urine specimen collection. Again - surprised but didn't care. They also did their own physical, weighed me and asked me to lift 10, 15 and 30 lbs. Most thorough pre-hire I've ever been through to date.

    I have yet to have any place ask for hair or swab for nicotene, but I was asked to sign a statement at the second facility that I was aware the grounds were smoke-free and if caught smoking, I would be warned and then terminated. I wouldn't be surprised if swabbing were next on the list.
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    Just a guess, but I'm thinking that insurance premiums (for liability/malpractice) are lower for the facilities that do pre-employment screening.
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    Standard pre-employment physical included urine test.

    Also requested to disclose ordered meds, which I believe anyone can simply answer "none" without repercussions -- as such a general inquiry can be deemed as improper.
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    No answers to your questions. But, congratulations on your sobriety. Best wishes to you for continue sobriety a healthy future!
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    I dont mind doing drug testing.
    I do mind that the people collecting from me working dont have to.
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    Only drug test I had to do was when working retail in high school. Went to a lab, peed in the cup, over. The tech was outside the door, but not watching. I wasn't allowed to take bags in with me and she checked my pockets. My hospital doesn't do drug tests. I had to have blood drawn as part of the employee physical. I thought it was a drug test, but it turns out it was just titers.
    KelRN215 likes this.


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