False Positive Drug Testing
Employers commonly use drug testing to ensure employees are not under the influence of illegal substances in the workplace. While drug testing can be extremely valuable, the tests are not always accurate.
Employees who lose their jobs and their reputations over these results are often destroyed. False positive drug testing happens all too often, and victims can lose their jobs, get blacklisted in their industry, and struggle to find a new occupation. A false positive drug test could ruin someone’s life. If you were a victim of a false positive drug test, you have legal options. Gwen Tipton Law PLLC can help set the record straight and get you compensation.
Types of Drug Testing
The most common type of drug testing is a urine drug screen, which analyzes a urine sample provided by the employee for the presence of illegal drugs and prescription medications. A hair drug test can also screen for illicit drug use and the misuse of prescription medication. A small amount of hair is removed using scissors or a razor. The sample is then analyzed for signs of drug use during the 90 days preceding the test.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) currently only allows urine drug testing and not hair drug testing. Based on multiple reports about the inaccuracies of testing hair, the common conclusion is that hair drug testing produces more false positive drug test results due to cross contamination.
Additionally, hair drug testing provides results for up to 90 days, and therefore does NOT determine present ingestion or drug use within 48 hours of the test. Hair drug testing may be used to promote a drug free workplace, but does not accurately reflect current drug use and cannot be used to confirm if an employee is currently or actively using drugs. Hair drug testing therefore frequently results in false positive results.
What Causes A False Positive Drug Test?
There are various factors that can cause a false positive drug test; and, many people who undergo testing are completely unaware of the factors. Some of the most common important causes of false positive drug tests include:
Certain medications can cause a drug test to falsely report an individual has ingested an illegal drug.
If the technician collecting the specimen does not follow proper collection procedures, it can result in cross contamination and a false positive drug test result. Additionally, collection sites are not required to inform individuals undergoing a urine or hair sample drug test of proper collection procedures, preventing the individual from being fully informed about the process before the sample is collected.
Many laboratories claim their drug testing analysis methods are almost always accurate, and conclusively prove an individual actually ingested a drug versus a cross-contamination of a sample. However, no laboratory can be 100% positive that contamination did not occur. A variety of additional factors besides contamination can also lead to a false positive drug test result, including:
- A mistake made by a laboratory employee
- The laboratory’s machines used in the drug testing analysis were not properly calibrated and/or not working at optimum efficiency
- The laboratory’s proficiency testing scores don’t fall within the acceptable forensic drug testing limit
Proficiency testing is conducted by independent third parties and is designed to highlight any internal errors and problems within a laboratory, which in turn provides confidence in the accuracy of the drug test results. Hair drug testing forensic laboratories, however, are not required by any federal law to submit to proficiency testing. This allows for an increase in false positive drug test results due to a failure to correct internal errors, reliance on machines not properly calibrated, or cutoff limits for detection set too high or low. Many mistakes can be made in the lab that result in a false positive.
Get Help After A False Positive Drug Test
Sometimes, employers are forced to contract with certain third-party administrators (TPAs) and/or laboratories to manage non-DOT drug testing, especially hair drug testing. If were forced to sign a membership form from a TPA and/or sign a blanket release allowing the TPA or testing laboratory to release your drug test results to an unknown number of other companies in order to continue with your employment or obtain employment, your protected rights under certain Federal or state privacy laws may have been violated. If you were forced to sign a form when your specimen was collected without being informed on the proper procedures of the collection site and subsequently been the victim of a false positive drug test result, we can help.
If you have been a victim of a false positive drug test, do not wait to call Gwen Tipton Law PLLC. We can explain your legal options and help protect your rights. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your false positive drug test.