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Fired For False-Positive Drug Test
Reader's Dilemma

The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.

Chinese proverb

The original page involving this incident has been moved. Please click here to read it.




Bill is an over-the-road (OTR) Truck Driver, for a Michigan headquartered, international trucking firm. In late March, Bill and his partner were driving through Indiana. The partner was driving while Bill snoozed in the sleeper. Bill was jarred from his sleep when another truck rammed the truck he was riding in from behind. Although no one was injured, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) required that every licensed driver be tested for drugs. An NIDA 5-drug panel test (a urinalysis test based on the National Institute on Drug Abuse standards, which utilizes five separate strips to test for the five most common drugs of abuse: THC (Marijuana), Amphetamines, Opiates, Cocaine, and PCP ( Angle Dust) It is also the most widely sold over-the-counter drug-testing kit in America.) was conducted at an Ohio Schaumberg DHHS Certified Testing Facility. (A certification program for laboratories; must meet minimum standards of Mandatory Guidelines for Federal Workplace Drug Testing Programs.) There are four possible results from this drug test; a true-positive, meaning the drug is present; a true-negative, meaning the drug is not present; a false-positive, meaning a drug was detected but it is not present; and false-negative, meaning drug was not detected and it was present. Bill's test returned positive for amphetamines. Bill claims the results are a false-positive, the laboratory claims it is a true positive. (Note: due to the personal information, company information and testing company's information, I have not included a scanned image of this document.) The trucking company immediately terminated Bill.

According to Bill he returned to his doctor who first telephoned the company Bill worked for, following up with a written letter concerning the prescription Bill was taking, Adipex. Bill also went to the pharmacy to retrieve a protocol sheet taking his evidence he returned to his previous employer, where his pleas fell on deaf ears. Bill was told that the company stood behind the test results, a written note at the bottom of the results indicating 'Adipex, phentermine hydrochloride, would not give a positive amphetamine result.'

Bill made an attempt to appeal his termination; he was told the company had no choice but to accept the results of the testing company, which had been confirmed by the company doctor.

Privacy and confidentiality issues bar the trucking firm and drug testing company from discussing this problem. Therefore, the task before Issues was to locate documentation that would create reasonable doubt with either the test results from the laboratory or with Bill's statement that the test results were a false-positive. A great deal of research has been conductive in regards to this topic.

Comments or Issues

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How many discrepencies can be found:
"Dr. Warren Silverman is suing a Latham drug-testing company, alleging that the firm used his name to certify pre-employment drug tests without his permission"

"The Latham doctor claims Medical Initiatives Inc. used his name to certify the drug tests of at least four Amsterdam area truck drivers when he played no role in the examination.

From:TIMES UNION; November 26, 1992


-Joseph Conrad

And so it seems for Bill, fate has reared its ugly head and slammed a boulder in his path. I have heard it said that everything happens for a reason; that we each have lessons to learn and when times are tough, it is how we react that will either lengthen or shorten the test we have been trapped by.

Bill has been trapped by circumstance. He was at the wrong place at the wrong time, and that crucial second has drastically changed his life.

It is always difficult to take a pay cut, life becomes even more complicated when that pay-cut involves one half of your regular salary. This is exactly what Bill is facing now.

There are many skeptics in the world, Issues received one comment on this matter indicating: "this truck driver may have be telling the truth, but you have to admit, most truckers take SPEED just to meet the schedules they have, or they would all be broke. How can he expect anyone to believe his story, when TRUCKERS in general, are stereotypical drug abusers?"

This statement may be deemed true amongst some, but I believe we all must take a look at the circumstances in general; the circumstances here are telling the readers that this 35 year old man is working hard to meet his financial obligations, and in one moment in time, he has found himself unable to do that due to (presently the claim stands at) no fault of his own. Please recall the stories concerning Rick from South Carolina and Charlie from New York is it not apparent that they were each a victim of their state lawmakers lack of willingness to address the at-will employment issue, rather that their own faults? Does it not appear that Bill, Rick and Charlie have all suffered a loss against their 14th Amendment Rights? (Which guarentee due process for loss of property. Do they each not have a vested property interest in their employment?)

The fact remains, Bill did not accept his lose and wallow in self-pity. He did everything within his power to appeal the lose of his job, but he did not stop there, he moved on, looking at his financial obligations and ways to meet them. He knows not if the home he purchased less than one year ago will remain his by next year, but he has not given up his efforts to overcome this dilemma.

Issues is presently searching for means to assist Bill and his family, although the search has become extensively bleak. We are also seeking to change the laws that negatively affected Bill in this situation. There must be legislation enacted that will offer a second testing in matters such as these, and Issues is determined to see those laws are enacted.

In the meantime, our prayers and well wishes are with Bill and his family. Remember: "It is always darkest before the dawn!"

Comments or Issues

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Are Commercial Truck Drivers Government Targets?

"But commercial drivers, who already have to contend with 210 pages of federal regulations, aren't especially fond of these ideas. "The truck drivers aren't the problem," said James Ropp, a motor inspector at US Steel who drives his own truck part time. "It's the government. People don't realize what a truck driver has to go through." Ropp complained that truck drivers must contend with far too many laws as it is. To earn their licenses, according to federal regulations, they must take a road test, physical exam, random drug test and a 66-question written test."

"We have to be tested every two years for medical, every year for drugs, every time we change motor carriers, every time there's an accident," said Marshall Siegel, executive director of Independent Truck Owner-Operators in Canton, Mass. "Truck drivers are encompassed by 85,000 words of federal rules and regulations - in addition to state rules and regulations." Besides, he added, "What about the people who walk down the street? What about the johns who work with prostitutes across the street?"

From: Post-Tribune (Gary IN); March 5, 1995



Drug Tests & False-Positive Drug Tests:

  1. Reader's Dilemma: Fired For drug Test Result                       

  2. Reader's Dilemma: Update   

  3. Reader's Dilemma: Issue's Assessment

  4. Causes of False-Positive Drug Tests

  5. Drug Testing America: Is it Worth the Cost?

  6. State-By-State: Drug Testing Laws



This Page Last Updated: 6/17/2002
C 2002 L Munro