Employers like to ensure not only a safe work environment, but also one that is productive. One of the ways they try to enforce this is through drug testing. Drug tests are most common during the employee screening process, but some employers require random drug testing for existing employees. Can your employer make you get a drug test? The short answer is, yes, your employer can make you get a drug test as long as they are following federal and state regulations and company policy.
There is no federal law that prohibits employers from requiring their employees to get a random drug test. This means that random drug testing in legal under federal law. However, there are federal laws that protect employees from discrimination or harassment. If you have reason to believe that you are being singled out because of a protected class (race, religion, sex, age, etc.), speak with an employment attorney.
Employees will need to refer to their state’s drug testing laws to determine its legality. Most states allow for private employers to conduct random drug tests, with a few exceptions. In some states, like Connecticut, the employer cannot do a blanket drug test of all employees, but rather request an individual test. If the employer targets one individual, they must have reason to believe that the employee is using drugs and/or are in a position that can cause harm to other people if under the influence. Other states allow for drug testing, but must provide adequate notice. Check with your state for state specific laws on drug testing.
Refusing To Take A Drug Test
If drug testing is legal in your state and you refuse to take the test, there can be harsh consequences. You can be terminated from your job. Furthermore, in some states, like Colorado, you can be denied unemployment benefits if your termination resulted from the refusal of a drug test. Before refusing to take a drug test, be sure to check your state laws. It is legal in most states, but there are exceptions.
Sum It Up
- There are no federal laws prohibiting random employee drug testing, but there are federal laws that protect employees from discrimination.
- Random employee drug testing is legal in most states, but there are a few that require adequate notice and/or individual testing.
- You can be terminated in most states for refusing a drug test.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. It provides general information and is not intended and should not be construed as professional advice. The author is not your attorney, accountant, financial planner or any other professional and no professional-client relationship is created. We do not represent that the information provided is accurate or up-to-date as laws and regulations are always changing. If you have an issue that requires professional help, you should contact the appropriate professional to help you on your specific set of facts. Please read the Terms and Conditions for additional information.