Drug Testing & Employee Rights


Drug testing is legal, according to the Drug-Free Workplace Act. Not all employers require an employee to submit to a drug test, but if it is the company policy, administering the drug test is legal. An employee has the right to dispute the results of the drug test if she feels the test is inaccurate. An employee submitting to a drug test has the right to privacy when doing so.

Drug-Free Work Environment

  • Under the Drug -Free Workplace Act, employers gained the right to have a drug-free working environment. The act does not require employers to drug test employees, but it gives employers the right to request drug tests. The employer has the right to drug test inside or outside of the company. Employers have the right to require drug tests before hiring a candidate, and the right to administer random drug tests to employees after they are hired.

Drug Screening Process

  • An employee who is asked to submit to a drug test by his employer must take the drug test. However, an employer may not discriminate against employees when administering the drug testing. For instance, those employers who randomly drug test their employees must be fair when selecting when screening employees for the tests. An employer cannot drug test any employee because of the employee's race, nation of origin, gender, age, disability or any other personal characteristics. Any employer who discriminates against an employee in the drug test screening process can face a civil lawsuit.

Employee's Right To Dispute Results

  • When an employee submits to a drug tests, she has the right to dispute the results of a drug test if they are positive. Drug tests generally do not report the drug that has been traced in a person's body, but rather the fact that a drug is in fact in the person's system. An employee could be taking legal medications prescribed by a doctor or physician, and the tests can sometimes mistake these legal medications for illegal drug substances. If an employee can prove that she is taking prescription drugs legally, she can dispute the positive drug test results and possibly avoid termination or disciplinary action from her employer.

Right To Privacy

  • An employee has the right to privacy when submitting a drug test. An employer who requests urine samples from an employee typically uses an outside laboratory to administer. The employee has the right to submit the sample in a private room, without being in front of authorized personnel of the laboratory. However, the laboratory can use a room that has no running water, to keep an employee from diluting the urine sample and causing complications in the results of the test. Some states allow the laboratory to have a person in the room while the test is being administered to keep the employee from tampering with the urine sample.

Disciplinary Action

  • When an employee fails a drug test, the employer has the right to determine how the employee shall be disciplined. For example, some employees may choose not to fire the employee, but instead require the employee take a substance abuse treatment program. For those employees who refuse to hire or choose to terminate the employee because of a failed drug test, this is legal if it is the policy and procedure of the company.


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