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Picture this: You’re giving a drug test to your employees, and you have a problem. One of your team members is trying to throw up roadblocks in the urine collection process. He’s been a great employee for a long time, and this behavior seems out of character for him. What should you do? You don’t want to lose a great employee, but at the same time you want to be sure that he (and everyone else who may interact with him) is safe.

If your regulated by the federal Department of Transportation, as many of the companies Bostec works with are, the solution is simple: Follow the DOT procedures.

As much as you might want to, you can’t  overlook some irregularities because “the employee is a good guy” or “he has never failed a drug test” or anything like that. You must follow the rules put in place by the DOT.

To that end, here are some common situations covered by the DOT policy. For more information on drug testing rules, regulations and procedures, it’s always a good idea to review the DOT’s Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance website.

Related: How workplaces can avoid
common drug and alcohol policy mistakes

The following situations are considered by the federal Department of Transportation as a refusal to test:

  • The employee fails to show up for a scheduled test (this does not apply in the case of pre-employment tests).
  • The employee fails to remain at the collection site.
  • The employee will not provide or attempt to provide a specimen.
  • When requested, the employee will not provide a second specimen.
  • The employee fails to provide a sufficient sample after medical examination.
  • The employee refuses to undergo medical examination.
  • The employee is uncooperative.

In the following situations, the employee is considered to be uncooperative:

  • The employee will not empty his or her pockets or remove outer garments.
  • The employee will not wash his or her hands.
  • The employee admits to adulterating the sample.
  • The employee has equipment that is used to interfere with the testing process.
  • The employee fails to follow the collector’s instructions.

Related: Five areas drug testers
need to pay attention to

More information on refusals and uncooperative behavior is listed in DOT Rule 49.

When one of the above situations is encountered, it’s Important to keep in mind a few additional items.

First, the collector should remember that the designated employer representative, or DER, should not be contacted before the collector makes a determination that the test is a refusal. The DER should be contacted only after the collection is terminated.

Another important item to remember is the correct procedure to follow when an employee declines or refuses to sign the form or initial the seals:

  • When the issue is a problem with refusing to follow instructions, such as washing hands or emptying pockets, or if there is a confrontation, the collector should warn the employee of the potential consequences of a failure to cooperate. The collector should then seek assistance from the DER or a supervisor to ensure the employee understands the ramifications.
  • The collector should note the refusal to sign in the “Remarks” section (Step 2) of the custody and control form (CCF) and document the termination/refusal.
  • If the employee refuses to sign anything, the collector must print the employee’s name in the appropriate spot on the CCF (Step 5). The collector should note the refusal to sign and/or initial in the “Remarks” section, process the paperwork and send in the samples.

Bostec, located in Lynden in northern Whatcom County, has decades of experience providing guidance and training to businesses throughout the Pacific Northwest not only in setting up workplace drug and alcohol policies, but also in actually conducting the tests in accordance with applicable law. For assistance, please feel free to get in touch.

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