I refused a breathylyzer at work

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lillyshockley
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I refused a breathylyzer at work

Post by lillyshockley » Sat Jul 01, 2006 11:41 am

Hello. I am new to this forum. I googled "alcohol" and "workplace" and this site came up in the search. Nice site.

Yesterday I arrived for my 3-11 shift. Soon my manager asked me to step into his office. He stated that he smelled an odd smell on me and asked if I would consent to taking a brethlyzer test to rule out the possibility of alcohol. I said no I would not, so I was suspended on the spot, plus they insisted I call someone to come get me.

I was NOT drunk, but had had two drinks earlier in the morning and felt it would be better to lose the job than to take the chance of being confirmed positive.

Also, the sticky part of this is that I am in a profession that I could get a license suspension if found to be impaired on the job.

Has anyone ever been through this where they refused a test?

I am obviously expecting to be fired for violation of company policy (I am sure that somewhere along the way I signed something that said I would submit to testing)

I have only worked at the place for 4 months. They have an ancient looking breathylizer machine that I have never seen anyone calibrate. They are a zero tolerance workplace and people must blow 000.

My son said I should have brushed my teeth better and been sucking a Menthol cough drop, forgodsake.

Maybe I am just looking for commiseration, but I'd like to hear input from anyone else who has gone through this.

Thanks a lot, Lilly

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Post by ruiner » Sat Jul 01, 2006 12:06 pm

i wouldve taken the test. your prolly gonna get fired either way, but if the breathalyser is out of date, then you can fight the lisence suspension.

either way, new guy buys, and id like some high life, my head kinda hurts.

good luck.
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Post by Hiram J. Lushwell » Sat Jul 01, 2006 12:17 pm

Lilly,

The best thing I can say is to get a lawyer.

Fear of a faulty breathalyzer and/or an intimidating boss should be a legitimate reason for not submitting to the test.
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Post by Fred O'Lisby » Sat Jul 01, 2006 12:24 pm

Be all like "hey I just used scope, wanted to avoid false positives."
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Post by king of beers » Sat Jul 01, 2006 12:24 pm

is it instant termination if you blew positive? where do you work at if you don*t mind me asking? most places just suspend you or write you up. what happened to the three strikes and your out policy? damn the man :twisted: beer for me please!
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Post by Red » Sat Jul 01, 2006 1:43 pm

4th Amendment. They can go fuck themselves without a kiss.

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Post by lillyshockley » Sat Jul 01, 2006 2:28 pm

Thank you for the input. And, hell yeah, drinks are on me!

I work in a manufacturing facility. The line workers, etc. are union. I am a full time support staff through an outside agency that has a contract with the main company.

Since I am not a long term employee I figure they will just unload me at this time. Pennsylvania Unemployment law says I can't collect because I refused the test but there's a clause that says once I work enough to earn 6 times the weekly benefit rate I can requalify for benefits.

I am going to avoid 3-11 shifts in the future!

I did call my lawyer's office - he is off until after the holiday. I am going to try to get him to negotiate that they fire me "for cause" but not to specify refusal of the test as a reason.

In my opinion they drummed me out of the place in an unnecessarily humiliating manner. Also, at first they were telling me they were going to keep my car inside their gates until the next day. At that point I started to get the ass and - calmly - told them they were NOT going to keep my car on their property, that they had no right to do so and that I would not agree to it.

So that entailed one of the managers going outside and discussing the car situation with the gate guard! They did back down and allowed the friend who came to pick me up to walk down to my car and bring it out through the gate to a public lot nearby.

Right now I am just wondering if refusal to take the breath test is automatically considered a positive only in circumstances where it is specified up front to be such, like on the DOT test truck drivers take. Or if it is some state or nationwide law that a refusal is automatically considered to be a positive.

Other things I have been researching is "probable cause" testing. The only thing mentioned to me was smell - no slurred words, no lack of job production, no irratic behavior. I have learned that ketoacidosis produces a fruity breath smell that is often mistaken for alcohol. You get it be either being a diabetic or by being on a very strict diet - like the Atkins diet.

RIPT

Post by RIPT » Sat Jul 01, 2006 2:33 pm

If I were you, I'd sue them for wrongful termination. Seriously. They would be dog shit in the hands of a good Attourney. Look one up that specializes in employment law and see what they say. Most will take your case, if they feel you have one, on a contigency basis.

Just don't sign any waver saying you won't sue until you've talked to an Attorney. It won't cost you anything for the initial consultation.

I was wrongfully terminated once for playing a prank on a Colleague and I sued their asses off. It worked for me.
Last edited by RIPT on Sat Jul 01, 2006 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Tipsy McStagger » Sat Jul 01, 2006 2:39 pm

3-11 shift, huh? Licensure issues?

I'm guessing we're talking about a fellow health care employee. I cannot say if what you did will hurt you down the road, truly depends on your supervisor.

I've known other people that have done worse than come to work drunk that still have their licenses if that helps any.

Good luck, welcome, and pass me a bottle of Vodka.

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Post by lillyshockley » Sat Jul 01, 2006 4:20 pm

Tipsy, what's a perceptive girl like you doin' in a place like this? :)

No termination yet, but shoudl that come I'd like to have my attorney have a "club" to use on my behalf so that we can simply part ways with the least amount of fall out for both parties.

As for licensure issues, there is no actual proof of anything - just some guy who claims he has a very highly developed sense of smell. Who the hell knows what he was smelling?

I was asked if I smoke - yes. Wear perfume - yes. Use mouthwash - yes.
Diabetic - don't know. When was last time I had alcohol - about 2:00 am the prior night.

Was not asked about what I had eaten Or if I am dieting

So I guess a lot of the outcome will be dependent on what the legal status of a refusal to test is in Pennsylvania courtrooms. Also, on how good my attorney is.

Have a good evening all!

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Post by GSG » Sun Jul 02, 2006 7:59 am

Why is it your employer's business if you drink or not? I know that if you work on the London Underground you aren't allowed to drink 24 hours before coming into work or something but then that's a dangerous job. God I hate nosey arseholes. Good luck fighting this stupidity.
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Post by lillyshockley » Sun Jul 02, 2006 10:02 pm

Because the workplace is a "zero tolerance" workplace. It's a concept that is gaining popularity within the heavy manufacturing industry. Everyone who comes into the plant, including outside truckers, etc. is subject to the policy.

So some poor truck driver from Texas backs his rig into a metal fence and the next thing he knows he's being asked to submit to drug and alcohol testing.

And you have to blow 000.

It sucks.

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Post by Girlie » Mon Jul 03, 2006 10:07 pm

People I'd rather not "have a few" prior to reporting to work (even if they claim they are not "drunk"):
A surgeon;
A nurse;
An aerospace manufacturer/inspector;
A pilot;
The guy fixing the breaks on my car;
The bus driver for my son's school trips.

There's a time and a place for everything - if an employer offers the expectation of the zero tolerance, don't be surprised if you get fired when you booze up before work.

It is your choice, follow the rules of the employer you work with — or find an employer whose rules better suit your lifestyle.

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