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Debunking excuses for failed drug tests

Drug testing is important to some employers, particularly if they have staff operating dangerous machinery or workers have access to sensitive information. It can also throw a wrench in the candidacy a promising hire. There are common excuses why someone fails a drug test, including using prescribed medication. However, drug testing and background screening firm provides some insightful tips regarding drug-testing myths.

The most common excuses

While folks will often get creative with their excuses, below are some of the more common excuses experts say that HR staff can dismiss:

Secondhand smoke: Testing positive for marijuana use is one of the most common reasons for failing a drug test. The answer HR staffs often hear is that the employee inhaled the smoke because someone else near them was smoking at a concert or in a car. According to medical experts, it is practically impossible to register a positive test through second-hand smoke – a person would have to stand in a phone booth for hours with someone smoking for the test to be positive. Sitting next to someone who is smoking would not even register as under the threshold.

Poppy-seed bagel:Poppy seeds actually fall under the umbrella of opiates. The legal limit used to be 300 nanograms, which did cause some false positives. The limit was subsequently raised to 2,000 nanograms – this would involve eating dozens of poppy-seed bagels or muffins before even approaching that threshold.

Over-the-counter drugs: Any number of over-the-counter or prescription drugs could create a false positive. This is why there is a two-step process to any drug test. The first step is EMIT screen which separates positive from negative. The second step is gas chromography-mass spectrometry confirmation tests, which is 99.9 percent accurate. It can tell the difference between diet pills and illegal amphetamine-based drugs.

Stay up on drug testing protocols

Avoiding issues can lessen the chance of liability for actions by workers. Georgia, like many other states, also has a drug-free workplace program that offers lower Workers’ Compensation premium rates to those businesses that use the program. It is also advisable for businesses to work with an attorney to draft protocols for drug testing so that companies are compliant with all applicable laws, and properly handle disputes as they arise.

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Robert Kaufman has been selected as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in ‘Commercial Litigation’ as will be published in the May issue of The American Lawyer & Corporate Counsel magazine.Alex Kaufman has been selected as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in ‘Commercial Litigation’ as will be published in the December issue of The American Lawyer & Corporate Counsel magazine.

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