Not having a medical review officer involved in your drug testing program is a major error that you want to avoid. Even large, international companies make this mistake and the consequences can be costly. When drug tests are completed in a lab, they don’t automatically report out as either positive or negative. Instead, they are reported as negative and non-negative; a non-negative result then should be reviewed by a Medical Review Officer. Having a medical review officer review non-negative results and make a final determination of a negative or a positive result is a business best practice.
A medical review officer (MRO) is an independent, licensed physician who is responsible for reviewing non-negative laboratory results. This individual also evaluates medical explanations for non-negative drug test results. Ultimately, their goal is to preserve the accuracy and integrity of the drug testing process. We believe an MRO is crucial for every business, big or small.
Recently, a large company was accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) as a result of an apparent failure to employ a medical review officer . How did this happen? First, an individual with ADHD applied to the company and agreed to take a drug test. At this point, the individual had already received an offer of employment. The potential employee did the right thing by reporting their disability medication usage. However, due to a non-negative test result, the company rescinded the employment offer. The employee then referred the company to his doctor and informed them of the ADA, but this did not change their decision.
This was a costly error on behalf of the business. The company not only lost a potentially excellent employee, they also violated a federal law and may have to pay serious damages. If the business had hired a medical review officer, the non-negative resulted could have been dismissed. Litigation and reputational damage may also have been avoided.
If your company requires drug testing during the employment process, you should always partner with a medical review officer. They can ensure that results are examined and reviewed carefully before a decision is made. Otherwise, you may face consequences that could harm your company’s reputation and hiring potential.
James P. Randisi, President of Randisi & Associates, Inc., has since 1999 been helping employers protect their clients, workforce and reputation through implementation of employment screening and drug testing programs. This post does not constitute legal advice. Randisi & Associates, Inc. is not a law firm. Always contact competent employment legal counsel. Mr. Randisi can be contacted by phone at 410.494.0232 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or the website at randisiandassociates.com