Interestingly, we have people come into our clinic who have been told by the boss to take a drug test. The employee pays for it. No reason is given, but if someone comes in with money and wants a test, we’ll sell it to them.

I’m actually not sure what the law says about employers sending employees in like this, but what I can tell you is that this is absolutely a very bad idea.

Here’s why.

Lots of people come in and pay for a “personal” drug test. More than I care to admit. They always confirm that it’s confidential (It is.), and many will come in to pick up the results in person, rather than risk having them floating around in cyberspace.

We also provide drug tests for the children of concerned parents. It’s all “off the grid” and if we can help a parent, we’ll do it. Our business is about confidentiality, and we honor that.

But the vast majority of the tests we do are for employers testing job candidates or existing employees.

Our customer is the one who pays us. The one who pays decides who gets the results.

When an individual pays for a test that is requested by his employer, attorney or court, we have to be very careful.

Quite often we’ll have an individual who is required by court, an attorney or a counselor to come in for unannounced testing. Usually the person has to pay for the test himself. How do we handle it?

The main thing is to set the rules before the process starts. We come to an understanding that the results go where they are supposed to, whether the donor likes the results or not. For a lab test this is easy, since we don’t get the results till after the donor leaves. But for instant tests, it’s different.

We always send non-negative instant results to the lab for confirmation, but if the donor expects it will not pass …

“I can’t turn that result in to my boss. Please don’t send it.”

It can be awkward. We know because it’s happened.

The key is to make sure the rules are clear before beginning.

We do our best to do the right thing, but the “right thing” is sometimes not as clear as you would like. We promise confidentiality to our clients. Our client is the one who pays us.

I don’t know how other testing companies work, so it’s best to do things right. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to pay for drug tests you require of employees. If you do that, then the results are yours and you can rely on the fact that no one exerted any undue influence on the situation.