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Drug Testing News

Sacked over urine test



By SUSIE O'BRIEN, industrial reporter
21jul03

A LABOURER has been sacked for failing to take a urine drug test because he couldn't produce a sample on cue.

Casual cotton worker, K.G. Cain, is fighting for his job in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
Mr Cain, who represented himself in the commission via telephone, said he did not refuse to take the urine test but "went in there with the ladies and I tried to pee for them . . . but I couldn't".

Staff from his employer, Seercott, told the commission Mr Cain was required by WorkCover to pass a urine drug test but declined to do so and so was not offered a job.

Though Mr Cain completed an induction and took a drug test, the first sample he presented was queried and he was required to test again.

After he failed to provide another sample, he was not hired by Seercott for the 2003 cotton ginning season.

Union groups are watching the outcome of the New South Wales case for implications for Victorian companies.

Urine-based drug and alcohol testing is widespread in Victorian mining and transport companies, and is set to be introduced into the police force and army. Major employers such as Qantas and Tenix are also looking to introduce random drug tests.

Australian Workers Union national secretary Bill Shorten said the case raised workers' concerns about false test results and the invasion of privacy.

"Workers support safe workplaces, but this sort of testing is being used as a sledgehammer to smash a walnut," he said.

The matter will now proceed to conciliation.