Is it legal to reject a urine sample based on smell?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal to reject a urine sample based on smell?

I recently went for a pre-employment drug screen. After giving the urine sample to the lab tech. she said the

temperature was correct then she smelled it about 4 times, and said she had to reject it due to lack of smell.

She proceeded to input this into her computer system but there wasn’t an option for smell so she lied and said

the temperature was bad. Is this legal?

Asked on September 26, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal, if there is reason why the technician believes, based on her experience and/or training and the physical evidence (e.g. color; odor, or lack thereof) that that sample is not an authentic one (e.g. has been doctored or diluted; is some other substance; is not a "fresh" one and so was provided by someone else and brought in by the employee). They do not have to except what they believe to be an altered or inauthentic sample. Remember also, there is no right to employment ("employment at will"), so the employer can reject an applicant if it feels something is "off" or "wrong" about any part of the screening process.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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