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Can I Refuse to Take a Drug Test Requested by My Employer?

Many workplaces required their employees to undergo drug testing. This may be done as part of the applicant screening process or as a regular occurrence for all employees to ensure that they are not putting themselves and others at risk by working while impaired. This is completely legal, but companies that choose to drug test their applicants and employees must comply with state regulations. These regulations vary slightly from state to state, but generally contain similar language.

You can refuse to take a drug test from your current or prospective employer. However, the company may terminate or refuse to hire you because of your refusal. If you feel your company violated your rights or state laws with its request for a drug test, speak with an experienced employment lawyer to determine if any violations occurred and if so, legal recourse options for you.

If You are Fired for Refusing to Take a Drug Test

To drug test a current employee, a company must have a reasonable suspicion that the individual was under the influence of drugs while working and that this impacted his or her performance. In much of the United States, it is illegal for companies to randomly drug test their employees unless there is a genuine safety concern linked to employee drug use. If you are fired for refusing to take a drug test, you have the burden of proving that your company did not have a valid reason to suspect that you were using drugs or that the company somehow violated your privacy.

Employers may use drug tests as a screening tool for applicants in most places, provided they notify the applicants first, handle all tests the same way, and use state-certified laboratories to analyze the samples given. In many states, companies may only drug test applicants who have already been offered the job contingent on a clean drug test result.

Drug Testing as a Form of Discrimination

If you feel you have been unfairly singled out for a drug test, put into a position where you cannot continue working with your company due to its request, demoted or refused a promotion because of your refusal to take a drug test, or if it appears that drug testing is being used to look for reasons to terminate employees of a certain race, ethnicity, religion, or gender in your workplace, you may have grounds for a discrimination claim. You will need documentation to support your claim, such as an email log showing your interactions with your employer regarding the drug test.

Work with an Experienced La Crosse Employment Lawyer

If you refused to take a drug test at work and faced termination or retaliation or if you feel that the drug testing that was done in your workplace was not compliant with your state’s laws regarding drug testing, speak with an experienced employment lawyer about your rights and legal options. To get the conversation started, contact our team of experienced employment lawyers at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. to set up your initial consultation with us.

Published November 29, 2016
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