Ask HR: New Hire unable to complete drug test.

Dear HR,

Upon completing the new hire steps – which include a drug test – our potential new hire let us know that they were unable to provide a timely urine sample due to a medial condition. We have never had this happen before, how do we proceed with hiring?


HR Answer:

DRUG TESTING—always a challenge and always grounds for suspicious behavior? Let’s face it, when it comes to whether or not someone is going to pass their drug test, some people will say anything to try to avoid testing.  At this point, you really have no way of knowing if this new employee is lying, so it’s important to inform your new employee that you will still be following your drug-free work place standards which will mean that your company will require a pre-employment drug screen.

Be mindful that both Federal and state laws require employers to make a reasonable accommodation for qualified applicants or employees who have disabilities. First, you must determine if this supposed medical condition is a disability. At this moment, you don’t have enough information to know for sure, so it is recommended that you proceed with a protocol requiring proper documentation to qualify this medical condition as a disability. Then you can proceed with what’s called an interactive process, or meaningful conversation to reach a reasonable accommodation if necessary. All of this sounds complicated, but Cardinal can simplify the process for you.  This situation may be easily resolved by permitting your new employee to sit and sip water (or another beverage) over a period of time, thus allowing their body to be hydrated enough to provide a sample, or by having a certified lab conduct a mouth-swab saliva test. Both of these suggestions could be an easy, flexible way to accommodate this situation while adhering to your workplace standards of pre-employment drug testing.

Cardinal’s workplace compliance experts are available to assist with customizing, reviewing, updating, or implementing policies such as a Drug and Alcohol Policy for your workplace. Contact us today at 1.800.342.4742.