Last updated: March 1, 2021
Drug testing technicians have guidelines to follow to determine if someone is trying to get out of taking a drug test. Not following company protocol—say not emptying their pockets as directed, for instance—indicates a failure to cooperate. The technician notes that as a refusal to test. What if someone refuses to wear a mask during a drug test though… Is that considered a refusal to test?
Actually, the answer could go either way. The technician needs to determine if refusing to wear a mask is a refusal to test or if the test subject has a valid reason to refuse.
Make it part of the protocol
Drug testing companies rolled out increased sanitization and safety procedures at the onset of the pandemic. And, most—if not all—notified their customers of the changes put in place. If your drug testing company notified you that they have new procedures in place requiring that masks be worn, your employee should plan to wear a mask.
From that point, the employer should take the responsibility to inform all employees of the collection site’s new safety procedures. If the changes include wearing masks while on the premises, employees should be made aware of it beforehand. Notify your employees that if they have an issue with the requirement, they need to address it with you prior to the test date.
If someone shares that they can’t wear a mask due to a medical condition, notify your drug testing company to see how the situation should be handled from that point.
If you have notified your employees of changes to safety procedures, make your drug testing company aware of it. Note that your employees should comply with the drug testing facility’s safety precautions while on the premises. If not, the technician should have permission to document the incident as a refusal to test.
Inconvenience versus necessity
With drug overdoses on the rise, now is not the time to consider getting rid of your drug-free program. People who struggled with substance abuse in the past are turning back to their old coping mechanisms. Some people are looking for something to take the edge off and see them through these uncertain times. It’s not just recovering addicts who are struggling right now though. Anyone could pick up drugs or alcohol as a crutch during times of stress.
If you’re calling employees back to work, some may not realize until it’s time to put the drugs away that they can’t do it. Many drugs—such as synthetic opioids for instance—are extremely addictive. It’s possible for someone with a prescription to become addicted before they finish it. Imagine, then, the danger of unmonitored use!
Employees who refuse to put on a mask when it’s required for a drug test might have ulterior motives in mind. It’s important they are made aware of any stipulations put in place at the drug testing site. Moreover, inform them that they will be expected to comply.