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Drug Screening Louisiana

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  • Drug Screening Louisiana

    Our drug screen policy includes both a random policy & probable cause/reasonable suspicion policy.

    One of my managers has an employee that he believes to be on an illegal substances due to her recent behavior. He has requested that I send her to be drug tested, and just tell her / lead her to believe that it's a random. He does not want to have answer questions from her or have her get upset and let it affect her work performance.

    Do we have to tell her that it's for reasonable suspicion though? Is it legal to let her think it's a random? Or even to explicitly tell her its a random?

    The manager is asking several questions too about what she's on, and what the medication is for etc. (She was hired about 6 months ago, and she did test positive for a substance, but she had a prescription and so the test result was technically Negative. But she turned in her prescriptions to me, just to have in her personnel file, so I am aware of what meds she's on.) How much can I/ should I tell the manager?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Do you have a written drug test policy? If so, you should follow the policy. I would not tell an employee a drug test is random if it isn't. Was anyone trained on what signs to look for in a person under the influence?

    If she has a behavior problem, why not handle that without a drug screen? The problem with testing is that what happens if it comes back clean? Then you are left with dealing with her behavior.

    I am not againsts drug testing, including random but sometimes you need to look at what you want the end results to be and then decide on what action you should take.

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    • #3
      I agree with the previous poster.

      I would not say it was random if it was not truly random. That could come back to bite you especially if you have a specific way to pull randoms.

      I would not disclose to the manager what meds she is taking. However, I don't see an issue with a performance counseling and asking about her behavior and if she had switched medications. If so, ask for a copy of the prescription. There could be some new side effects. You should be able to do that without any drug test needing to be done.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by hr for me View Post
        I agree with the previous poster.

        I would not say it was random if it was not truly random. That could come back to bite you especially if you have a specific way to pull randoms.

        I would not disclose to the manager what meds she is taking. However, I don't see an issue with a performance counseling and asking about her behavior and if she had switched medications. If so, ask for a copy of the prescription. There could be some new side effects. You should be able to do that without any drug test needing to be done.
        I wouldn't ask about her meds. That could give the appearance of thinking she falls under ADA. Let her bring up the meds if she fells it is appropriate.

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        • #5
          I brought that up only because the employer already has the knowledge/documentation that she is on medications. And I would suspect based on the posting that she would be required to disclose them based on the current drug testing policy in place.

          If they didn't have that knowledge, I would strongly agree that would not be a question I would ask.

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          • #6
            Even with that knowledge, her employer is not a pharmacist and any changes to her medications are not any of her manager's business, nor is he educated to know what a change might mean.

            Stick to the behaviors observed without commenting on the cause or suspected cause. If her behavior ist still such that drug or alcohol use is suspected, just tell her matter of factly that under your policy, her behavior calls for a drug test. Let the testing facility sort out the meds and dosages and such. You should stay out of that conversation.

            Frankly, the manager needs a back bone. No, it is not fun to accuse an employee of using but that is part of the job of a manager. I would recommend having at least one other manager present as a CYA, but her manager needs to be able to deliver the news and be honest about his actions.
            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks guys.. Sorry had to go out of state the day after posting this and am just able to get back to it.

              OK I have let the manager know that we aren't going to tell this employee that it's a random drug screen.
              Yes we do have a drug screen program which allows for an explains new hire tests, post accident tests, and probable cause tests.

              I agree with all points ~ we should deal with the behavior first and foremost, and resorting to a drug screen is likely not going to fix or even help to fix the issue. To be honest I don't believe she's on any illegal drugs; I think that the manager has a pre-concieved notion about this girl and her taking drugs falls in line with a behavior that she's exhibited that he does not like.
              And she doesn't even have to tell us what she's taking; normally, when something comes up on an employee's drug screen, I just get notification that the MRO needs more info from the employee, and then the employee and the MRO work it out, and I just get a final result indicating either positive (if the employee has/had no script) or negative (if the employee did provide a valid prescription).
              What happened with this particular employee was that when she went to do her new hire drug screen, they requested copies of the prescription(s) and while she was making them a copy, she just made me one too, she assumed I needed them I think.

              So, when we send her for this reasonable cause screen, I still may not even end up knowing what she's taking (unless it's an illegal substance).

              We will definitely not be asking her about any med changes..

              I do understand where the manager is coming from; we are a fairly small company, only 30 employees at this location, and the manager only has 3 charges underneath him, this employee being one of them, and they work pretty closely together. Telling her flat out that he thinks she is participating in illegal drug activity will embaress her, and hinder their work relationship and may affect her productivity.
              But at the same time, I want to be the voice of reason here, and advise him correctly of our liability .. One of the meds on the prescriptions she inadvertently gave me upon her hiring was a common medication for individuals overcoming opiod addiction and indicates that she may be in recovery, thus triggering her as having a valid disability under ADA.

              Now the manager is asking that we tell her we've started screening people once a year because our random program is not bringing up enough variety (we do have a screening company that we go through, who pull the randoms for us.)

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by HRPRO View Post

                Now the manager is asking that we tell her we've started screening people once a year because our random program is not bringing up enough variety (we do have a screening company that we go through, who pull the randoms for us.)
                Sheesh--your manager is again asking you to lie to an employee so he won't have to appear to be the bad guy. Managers can't always win popularity contests, and it is because they represent the interest of the employer that they sometimes have to be the heavy. They should (must) do it honestly and forthrightly.

                Tell this guy to put on his big-boy pants and do his job. Part of that is delivering bad news, and counseling employees who receive bad news.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Agree with Texas. Perhaps this manager's manager needs to have a chat with him about his responsibilities and whether he is cut out to be a manager. It sounds like he isn't very clear on how to address performance issues and when a drug screnn is and is not acceptable. If he is wasting money requesting screens that are not needed so he doesn't have to deal with a problem employee, that is a problem. Not to mention it still won't fix the issue of performance if you get back a clean drug screen. Then he will have a possibly ticked off employee and te same performance issue he had before.

                  As far as the paperwork she gave you, I would give it back with a note that it is not needed and therefore you are returning it to her. No good can come from keeping it. In the future, I'd recommend being more careful about accepting unnecessary medical documentation. You have read it now and you can't undo that but it looks far worse if you keep it in her file and then some sort of negative action takes place. I would not allow anything you saw on the form to bias your actions now. Medications alone tell you virtually nothing about the real reason someone is taking something. At one point in time I was on 4 different medications, none of which I was taking for their most commonly prescribed use.
                  I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Agree with Elle. I didn't realize when you first posted that you got the information in a strange way. I assumed wrongly that you had some type of policy where it was a requirement that they employee provide you with a copy. It can serve you no good purpose to keep it. Either give it back to the employee or have the MRO put it into the files that were related to that drug screen (if they even keep them).

                    And it would strongly frustrate me that once again this manager wants to lie about why this specific employee should have a drug test. The only thing lying can get you is into hot water. Either step up and state reasonable suspiscion or don't. But he should stop trying to find a lie to justify it. He really does need to just directly manage the performance issues and leave any preconceived drug notions out of the picture altogether.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This manager's boss is the owner; we're kind of a small company. I will alert him to this issue I think..

                      I'd really like to give them something concrete on why we cannot lie to this employee about going to get drug screened (aside from the fact that from an operatoinal standpoint we need to deal with her behavior and not rely on a drug test to 'fix' something for us.)
                      There's got to be some legal/ liability ramifications to us sending this employee to drug screen for 'reasonable cause' and lying to her about why we're sending her right?? Especially since I do have the knowledge of the two medications that she's on (and I know of the doctor she's seeing for those prescriptions, so I believe I do know what she's taking them for).

                      I think taking that approach will get across to these two gentlemen the most effectively.

                      Thanks

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry but there just isn't a law that governs everything. This is one of them. The law doesn't require you tell someone why you are sending them for a drug test. Your "best" answer is the operational reason; that it doesn't solve your problem. Whatever you do, do not share the info about the meds she is on. Give it back to her and just tell her you do not need it. If you use that information as part of your reason for sending her for the drug test, or even if it appears that may be the reason, you have ADA issues.

                        Here is how I would handle it. You, stay out of it as you are the one with the knowledge of her meds and proving that didn't sway your thinking is not something you want to do. Have the owner and manager meet with her about the observable issues. Have them document her behavior and reactions and explanation as you would for anyone else. IF based on that meeting both the owner and manager feel a drug test is warranted, send her and tell her that it is because her behavior is such that a test is warranted under your policies. Still deal with the performance issues as normal. If the test comes back clean, continue treating it as any other performance problem. If the test comes back positive, follow your usual policy.
                        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

                        Comment

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