“Do It Yourselfers” are a growing force to be reckoned with these days. With hit shows from Home and Garden Television (HGTV), an entire network dedicated to DIY, aptly name the DIY Network, and millions of YouTube videos at our fingertips, it is hard not to catch the DIY bug. DIYers are tackling home projects, crafts, small repairs and now more difficult things like car repairs, major home repairs, appliance repairs, cell phone repairs and so much more. Why not DIY drug testing, right?. Sometimes, we save a little money by doing things ourselves – and sometimes it ends up costing us more money to fix a DIY attempt gone bad. I have a cell phone that should have only cost me $100 to get fixed by a professional. After my DIY attempt went horribly wrong, that repair quickly turned into a $350 repair. There are just some things better left to the professionals – like cell phone repairs and engine tune ups.
What does this have to do with drug testing?
Surprisingly, some companies have taken the DIY mentality to new heights by conducting their own drug testing in the hopes of saving a buck or two. This has become very popular in the medical and quasi-medical fields including home health agencies, nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, etc. Even some non-medical companies are looking at performing their own drug testing in house. With instant urine test kits and even the increase in oral saliva testing, executives feel that they can save money by just doing the testing themselves rather than having a certified drug testing company do the work for them. This is where things can go horribly wrong.
Executives feel that they can save money by just doing the testing themselves rather than having a certified drug testing company do the work for them. This is where things can go horribly wrong.
Companies that conduct their own “in-house” drug testing open themselves up to huge liability risks and are easy targets for discrimination claims. When a company takes on the role of “drug tester” using a store or online purchased instant urine drug test, they are effectively taking on the role of police, judge and jury and are left with nothing concrete to defend the results of the instant drug screen.
Let’s consider the following, typical scenario and dig deeper to see where the main pitfalls to DIY drug testing can cost far more than the few dollars the company saves:
The New Applicant:
Your company has elected to use an instant 10 panel urine drug test kit purchased online to conduct a pre-employment drug screen of a potential new hire. The applicant submits their application and hands it to your HR person and the HR person hands the applicant a cup and asks the applicant to go to the restroom, fill the cup with urine and bring it back out to them. The applicant goes into the restroom and returns with a covered cup filled with what is believed to be urine. The HR person peels back the label, checks the strips like they showed her in the instructional YouTube video and makes a final determination of the drug test. Quick, easy and done, right? Not so fast…
- Is the “urine” provided by the applicant really urine?
- Is the “urine” provided by the applicant THEIR urine or is someone else’s?
- How do you know they didn’t fill the cup with warm water from the sink in the bathroom?
- Is the urine the correct temperature?
- Are you sure the applicant didn’t flush the balloon that was filled with his buddy’s urine down the toilet?
- When the “result” is read and amphetamines shows up as positive on the instant test cup, what do you do next?
- Do you send the specimen to a laboratory to be tested and confirmed?
- Do you not hire the applicant because the amphetamines showed up?
- You are confident the instant test cup is 100% accurate, right?
- Was the amphetamine showing up a result of a legal medical prescription?
- Can you legally ask the applicant about their medical history or prescription use without violating HIPPA and ADA laws?
- The applicant is the best friend or relative of the person conducting the drug testing – is it possible a positive drug screen result might just be ignored?
- Of course, you have a company policy that is in writing that addresses these and other concerns about drug testing, right?
- Do you really know what substances you are testing for?
- Is it legal to test employees or applicants in your state?
- Isn’t marijuana legal in some states – we can ignore that positive test, right?
I know, you are saying we use instant oral saliva tests at our company so we know the specimen came from the applicant directly so there is no issue of cheating. That is great – you have the remaining 11 bullet points above covered too, right?
Does your company do random drug testing? Post accident drug testing? Reasonable suspicion drug testing? Do you also test for current alcohol impairment? If you do testing for these reasons “in house”, you open yourself up to even more potential problems and issues such as claims of favoritism, discrimination, bias and/or unfair or illegal practices.