Urine Saga

My name is Don Hopkins, and this is my Urine Saga.

Letter to Paul Allair

I sent a letter to Paul Allair, CEO of Xerox Corporation, turning down a summer internship that I had been offered at Xerox PARC, because of their pre-employment urine testing policy -- after I had taken and passed the urine test. But it was not so easy -- the story follows...

University of Maryland Health Center

Before I took Xerox's urine test, I wanted to make sure I would pass. So I walked into the University of Maryland Health Center, and asked to have my urine tested for drugs. I was refered to Dan Calvin, Urine Czar, who is in charge of the administration of urine tests. But he would not let me piss in his bottle.

Here are my notes from a discussion I had with Dan Calvin on April 16.

The next day, I discussed my encounter with Dan Calvin with the director of the University of Maryland Health Center, Dr. Bridwell. She was very helpful and understanding, and she arranged for me to take my urine test that day (which I passed). She appreciated me telling her about the problem, and she said that nobody else is going to have the same problem I had.

Roche Labs, Bethesda Maryland.

The urine test I had to take for Xerox was administered by Roche Labs. The way they treated me was utterly humiliating and prejudicial. Here is the story of why I'm pissed off at Roche Labs.

Xerox PARC Liked my Urine

Date: Wed, 2 May 90 17:32:26 -0700
From: Mark Weiser <mark@arisia.Xerox.COM>
To: don@mimsy.umd.edu
Subject: you pass

Date: Wed, 2 May 90 17:01:40 PDT
From: Bill_Skinner:PARC:xerox
To: Weiser:PARC:xerox
Subject: Hopkins passes drug test

Mark/Joe (Charlton):

Xerox Medical emailed Mae this morning to say that Don Hopkins' drug test result s were negative. I called and left a message for him at home.



At both urine tests I've taken (the practice test at the University of Maryland Health Center, and the real drug screening test for Xerox at Bethesda Roche Labs), the person in charge didn't want to let me submit to the test. Both times, I had to ask their supervisors to override their decisions, appealing for special permission to piss in a bottle. I was always forthright about my belief that urine testing is a violation of my privacy, even though I was compromising my principles and submitting to the test anyway.

The way I've been treated in both cases confirms my belief that urine tests are intended to discourage people like me from even applying in the first place. Unfortunatly Xerox didn't notify me of their drug testing policy until after I had applied for the job, been accepted, and chosen a project. Had I known about their drug testing policy in advance, I would have acted on what I believe, by never applying to Xerox for employment.

The people who administer my drug tests treated me as if they didn't expect people like me to ever submit to them, unless we're crazed criminals trying to cheat our way into urine sensative positions. Anyone with the integrity to refuse a urine is in the same class as unqualified applicants and drug abusers: unfit to work at Xerox. The only drug abusers Xerox will employ are those unscrupulous enough to cheat on the test (which is certainly possible despite the chain of custody procedure followed by Roche Labs).

If you don't want you or your children to be treated this way, please help end the drug war!