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Storm in a pee cup

Nov 19, 2012News

A RailCorp driver has been reinstated by the Transport Appeals Board after it found that he had not tampered with a urine sample. The driver from Hornsby was dismissed on 21 March 2012 for a random drug test which assessed that his urine sample ‘was not of human origin, … or diluted after avoiding’. RailCorp accused the driver of tampering with the test. Although the driver co-operated, the investigator found the allegation substantiated, and the driver was dismissed. The driver then mailed a hair sample to a forensic lab to clear his name.

Commissioner Bishop ‘unequivocally’ accepted that the driver did not tamper with his sample, stating that she found him to be “one of the most genuine and truthful witnesses ever encountered by the Board”. Bishop agreed with the submissions put by Brendan Edghill on behalf of the RTBU that the driver had been treated as if he had to disprove the result, and an impossible barrier for him to overcome. Commissioner Bishop concluded that the dilution was more likely caused by an inadvertent mistake by the tester.

The result is a vindication of the position of the RTBU over many years that employers such as RailCorp are too hasty to find the results they want, and that urine testing is ineffective, unreliable and should be replaced by saliva or more advanced testing methods.