Monday, March 05, 2007


"New" Today at LANL: Random Drug Policy

March 5, 2007
New substance abuse policy begins today
Provisions in place to safeguard for 'false positives'

Laboratory employees provided more than 300 comments on the new substance abuse policy, which goes into effect today. The comments were reviewed and revisions were made to the policy, which applies to all Laboratory employees and subcontract personnel.

Many of the comments focused on protections to employees from "false positive" tests. “The new policy has safeguards for addressing false positives,” said Doris Heim, associate director for business services (ADBS). “If, for example, there is a medical explanation such as, ingestion of a prescription medication, and the employee can provide documentation (medical or pharmacy records), the drug test will be reported as negative. However, if there is no medical explanation for a positive test, the specimen is reported to Personnel Security (SEC-PSS6) as a confirmed positive.”

According to the policy, Personnel Security will notify employees selected for random testing. Workers who are on approved leave from the Laboratory will not be required to appear for a test on that day. A worker who fails to appear for a drug test will be treated in the same manner as if (s)he had tested positive for an illegal drug. It is understood that being called for a random test may be inconvenient, however, this element of unpredictability is required in order to guard the integrity of the testing process. A positive drug test will result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

At an all-employee meeting last December, Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio announced that an enhanced substance abuse policy would be implemented. The enhanced policy, which incorporates employee comments and suggestions, includes

--Pre-employment drug testing for all LANL employees (excluding guests/affiliates) and subcontractors;

--Random drug testing for all LANL employees (excluding guests/affiliates) and subcontractors;

--Drug and/or alcohol testing on the basis of reasonable suspicion that the policy has been violated; and

--Drug and/or alcohol testing following an incident or accident that results in or has the potential to result in serious injury.

As suggested by employees, metrics and an assessment schedule are being developed to ensure effective implementation of the policy.

"The new substance abuse policy reflects today's environment and the need to take greater precautions to ensure a workplace that is safe, secure and demonstrates that we are worthy of our nation's trust," Anastasio said in an all-employee message.

The new policy -- IPP 732 -- can be found on the Policy Center Web page and replaces the previous substance abuse policy (AM110).

A set of frequently asked questions on the new policy also is available at online.

For more information, see the all-employee memo from Anastasio or contact Employee Relations at 7-8730 (Adobe Acrobat Reader required).

Employee feedback incorporated in Code of Ethics

By Public Affairs Office

December 16, 2003

Based on employee feedback, a revised draft Los Alamos National Laboratory Code of Ethics will be presented to the Senior Executive Team late this month.
Roughly 350 people provided feedback to the draft code of ethics.
One potential issue of concern is that comparatively few employees compared to the work force as a whole commented on the code. As detailed in the summary of employee feedback, HR-WDA suggests that even though the opinions received cannot be relied upon to exactly represent the aggregate opinions of the Laboratory's work force, there are still valid reasons to act on the opinions received.

It seems more employees commented on ethics than drug testing.
"What happens if an alcohol test indicates a breath alcohol content below 0.08 g/210 L, the testing limit for a positive alcohol test?
When a test shows evidence of breath alcohol concentration below 0.08 g/210 L, Occupational Medicine (OM-MS) will monitor the worker and not allow the individual to return to work until there is no evidence of impairment. In addition, a fitness for duty evaluation will be initiated by OM-MS."

This must be a typo. Surely someone must have proof-read this statement, but it seems to state that we will be fired if we come to work sober.

The correct statement is that we must HAVE a blood alcohol content BELOW or we must NOT HAVE a blood alcohol level ABOVE .08g/210L, which is certainly a reasonable requirement. But the current policy states the opposite.
No, you read it correctly, 9:30am. It's all part of being at at-will employee.
Maybe I'm reading too many blogs, but, I swear, the first time I saw the headline I thought it said, "Random Dog Testing" - watch out, Pat!
Saw an interesting show on tv where someone ate a bagel with poppyseeds on it. He was measured before and after. He showed up on the drug tests after!!!! Makes me think these tests might not be all they are crapped up to be.
There was a nurse in Albuquerque a couple of years ago that had a similar story about poppy seeds. She had dozens of people who swore that she never used drugs and had a poppy seed bagel every morning. Insisting that their tests are 100% perfect, she lost her job.

Read another article about a Border Patrol agent who ate a power bar that had hemp seeds in it. He, too, turned up positive. Again, dozens of co-workers insisted that he was hard-core against all drug use. Again, the testers insisted that their tests are 100% perfect. He lost his job.

Remember, none of our airplanes ever fall out of the sky, our space shuttles never blow up and our drug tests are never, ever, EVER wrong.

And you can bet your job on that!
Tell me how they'll catch someone who is a prescription drug addict.
Ok, guys, let me spell it out for you.

Slowly, for the reality-impaired.




Got it?

Wow, for so many supposedly "smart" people, i's amazing how y'all are fooled by such dribble as the poppy seed myth or the my brother inlaw's best friend's nephew's daughter who worked for the border patrol....
Here it is, plain and simple. You pee in a cup. They seal it up and send it away. If you are doing something naughty, you get caught and you get fired. If you aren’t doing something naughty and you get fired, you got a nice juicy reason to sue the crap out of LANS.
So who the hell is holding a gun to your head and making your work there if this is so unfair? Or is it that you probably couldn’t get employed anywhere else and need this welfare state job?
So... it doesn't concern anyone that the policy is written backwards?!! The legal alcohol limit is .08 -- that means you can't be ABOVE the limit. The way it's written, it says you can't be BELOW the limit.
An aside for comparison, the Human Reliability Program, HRP ("Herpes"), alcohol limit is 0.02.

One should be reading this new policy as if a positive test for any alcohol will be cause to give you grief.
UC never did no drug-testing. We never needed on stinking drug testing when we were UC! UC treated us sooooo good! We were the best and brightest then. We were world-class. We were the crown jewel of the national Labs. We didn't need no drugs then. Just having UC in our corner was hallucigenic enough. Boy do I miss UC. LANS is UC, but it really isn't. Or is it? Let's just pretend it isn't, that way we can keep dreaming about a boygone era that never really existed except for a chosen few. Boy do I miss the days when UC was totally in charge....
At the recent Committee hearing, Anastasio made it clear, and it was made clear to him, that drug testing of employees was a natural next step. I realized at that point it was pointless to respond in the feedback process.

And now it's policy.

What I don't know is if I will go ballistic when I'm tapped to pee, or if I will swallow my anger and pee. I could argue 4th Amendment, but I'm "at will" now, and I've got mouths to feed.
You'd have to eat a helluva lot of poppy seed bagels for you to get enough to be over the limits for opiates.

If you're really that paranoid, don't eat poppy seed bagels for breakfast during the week.
Though, out of context, a little misleading, the original posting is addressing what happens if the test is greater than 0.00 but less than 0.08.... it is the same issue addressed by DWI and DUI (where not legally intoxicated but under the influence). What the policy says is the employee will not be released, to work or other, until no impairment as determined by OM is apparent.
3/05/2007 5:58 pm:

The key to your message is "who the hell is holding a gun to your head and making your work there if this is so unfair?"

Well, aside from the typo (easily forgiven even if evidence of some haste and/or frothing at the mouth), the use of "your" makes it clear you DON'T work here. No one (mature) expects life to be "fair." However, if there is clear evidence of malfeasance, we can rightly complain.

If you truly believe that anyone who is dissatisfied with the current state here should leave, then you are willing to risk the security of this country for that belief. Do you truly think all dedicated, patriotic, supremely knowledgeable, experienced weapons scientists "need this welfare?" If so, I wish you and the country luck with the C students that are left here when you prevail.
Regarding the poppy seed story, check this out:
No, the policy doesn't even mention undetectable levels, and 0.0 is BELOW 0.08. So even people who have never had a drink in their life could be fired under this policy.

Letterman could have a field day with this policy, the way it's worded. How could 300+ people review this policy and not catch such a glaring error?
3/05/2007 9:42 PM

I thought this was the revenge of the "C" students
Here's a great snippet from the above thread:

"If you're really that paranoid, don't eat poppy seed bagels for breakfast during the week."
-Anonymous (3/05/2007 8:50 PM)

Question for Anonymous (a C Student?): How do you know ahead of time which "week" your "random" drug test is supposed to occur?

Just curious.

--Pat, the curious Dog
I heard that James Peery will be leaving HX Division because of the drug testing policy.

Good riddance. Too bad his leaving won't be changing anything.
3/06/2007 6:26 AM:

"How could 300+ people review this policy and not catch such a glaring error?"

It's not in the policy, only in the FAQ's.
It used to work this way,
but LANS is a Limited Liability Corporation. Lawsuits against UC/LANL were lucrative and usually settled out of court in favor of the wronged employee but let's see what happens now.

".....Here it is, plain and simple. You pee in a cup. They seal it up and send it away. If you are doing something naughty, you get caught and you get fired. If you aren’t doing something naughty and you get fired, you got a nice juicy reason to sue the crap out of LANS......"
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