Legal Options

The most basic rule if you take a urine test and it comes back positive is to admit nothing. The prudent person, whatever the circumstances, should insist that a positive test result is impossible.

An employer should be asked the following questions with the clear understanding that if the matter is not dropped and the results expunged from your employment file that you will proceed to exercise your legal rights.

Pertinent questions include : What test was I given? By whom? Was your test sent to another lab? How much time elapsed between the taking of the sample and the test? Could you have a copy of the "chain of custody" - those who had control of your sample at all times? What precautions were taken to insure that you weren't a victim of false positive results? What confirmatory test was taken? By whom? etc.

Remember , if you are a victim of false test results and you lose your job, you may have a million dollar liability suit. Given the information in this pamphlet, what do you think a reasonable jury would decide if you lost your job, your reputation, your standing in your community, because you were forced to take a urine drug test which your employer and testing laboratory knew to be inaccurate? Over the next few years, damage verdicts against employers and laboratories will probably do more than anything else to stop dragnet approach to drug testing.

U.S. District Judge A.J. McNamara of New Orleans forced the Southern Pacific Railroad to stop testing when the company was caught using a video camera. Judge McNamara wrote this is absolutely outrageous conduct when employees are forced to urinate under the direct observation of a camera."

In an important test case, Plainfield, New Jersey officials arrived at a city firehouse at 6:30 AM, locked the doors and urine tested the firefighters. Sixteen of 103 firefighters tested positive, were terminated and criminal charges were filed against them. In the subsequent trial before US District Judge H. Lee Sarokin, the firefighters were reinstated with back pay. Judge Sarokin wrote in his decision:

"The sweeping manner in which the officials set about to accomplish their goals violated the firefighters individual liberties. ..The City of Plainfield essentially presumed the guilt of each person tested."

"If we choose to violate the rights of the innocent in order to discover and act against the guilty, then we have transformed our country into a police state and abandoned one of the fundamental tenets of a free society. In order to win the war on drugs, we must not sacrifice the life of the constitution in the battle."