The Uncooperative Donor


"The top priority of the collector is to ensure that the integrity of the collection process is maintained throughout the entire collection."

This information is provided for educational purposes only. Reader retains full responsibility for the use of the information contained herein. 


Most companies today implement some form of a drug testing program to promote safety in the workplace. An unfortunate truth about drug testing is that it can be inconvenient. Regardless of testing methodology or location, a drug test requires time to complete. Most applicants or employees understand that this inconvenience is necessary as it directly relates to their safety and the safety of others; however, some individuals view a required drug test as a nuisance, or an invasion of personal privacy, and may become troublesome during the collection process. In this article we will look at common scenarios regarding uncooperative donors, and how collectors can handle these situations.   


“Can We Hurry This Up?” 

Third-party collection sites are regularly used by employers to conduct their drug test sample collections. While these facilities are useful in that they typically employ properly trained and certified collectors, wait times to complete a collection can be lengthy at any given time throughout the day due to increased volume. This situation may frustrate donors who may then direct their frustration at the collector.  

For instance, a donor may demand to jump to the front of the line simply because he or she can no longer hold in their sample. As simple as this request sounds, collection facilities will typically process collections on a first-come, first-served basis. Although some exceptions to this rule exist (e.g., breath alcohol testing, post-accident, etc.), the donor will typically be denied their requests to be served sooner. In fact, a donor asking to be helped sooner than others may be an indication that that individual is hiding a substitute sample or adulteration product that they want to keep at a certain temperature prior to their collection. 


“I’m Not Signing Anything” 

Once a sample has been provided to the collector by the donor, the sample is sealed in a tamper-evident container. This may be a bottle, bag, envelope, vial, or any other applicable vessel depending on the collection type. Regardless of the type of sample, the donor is typically asked to initial the seal on their sample, and complete the drug testing paperwork, which includes their printed name, date, and signature. At this point the donor may decline to complete any of the written portion of the collection paperwork.  

This “I gave you my sample so I am not giving you anything else” attitude does not happen frequently, but it can occur when a donor is disgruntled about having to complete a drug test. A donor may express other reasons for not wanting to write any of their information, but their defiance does not change the outcome of the drug test as their sample has already been provided. The collector appropriately notes that the donor declined to complete the paperwork and the overall process continues.   


“I Will Not Follow Any Instructions” 

All collection types will require the collector to give specific instructions to a donor. For instance, prior to a urine sample collection, a donor will be asked to wash their hands and empty their pockets. For a saliva test, a donor will likely be instructed to not have anything in their mouth five to fifteen minutes prior to the collection. Instructions will vary depending on the collection type, but their importance will remain the same.  

If at any point during the collection process the donor fails to comply with any of the collector’s instructions, the collector should immediately inform the donor of the consequences of not cooperating. In most cases, failure to comply with collector instructions will lead to a refusal-to-test.  Company policy will outline what the penalty is for a refusal to test, but it is often comparable to the same disciplinary action as a positive test result. It is up to the collector to determine whether or not a donor has refused to take a test, but the collector should be familiar with all applicable policies or regulations pertaining to the collection prior to making this determination.   



An uncooperative donor is not limited to the scenarios discussed in this article, and it is important for collectors to understand how to handle these situations when they arise. Regardless of how many drug tests a donor has completed in their career, the collector is the individual who has undergone the training and certification process to be able to conduct a collection.  

The top priority of the collector is to ensure that the integrity of the collection process is maintained throughout the entire collection.  Protocols are in place to ensure this can happen smoothly. If a donor attempts to compromise the collection process at any time, this should be noted appropriately by the collector. Depending on the severity of the donor’s unruliness, the collector may need to determine if the collection process can continue or should be terminated. 


Contact NMS Management Services for more info: 800.269.0502


This information is provided for educational purposes only. Reader retains full responsibility for the use of the information contained herein. 

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