Fairness in Workplace Drug Testing

When you are injured at work, your employer may require you to take a drug or alcohol test if they believe that the use of drugs or alcohol may have contributed to an injury or accident.

As some may recall, in 2016, OSHA issued a rule requiring an employer to have an objectively reasonable basis to believe that an employee’s drug or alcohol use contributed to an accident before they could test; vague guidance which left employers and employees wondering if post accident drug testing was in compliance.

More recently, however, OSHA followed up with a memo which clarifies that most instances of workplace drug testing are indeed permissible, including drug testing “to evaluate the root cause of a workplace incident that harmed or could have harmed employees”.

It is not permissible, however, to single out only the employee reporting the accident. Employers must expand testing to all employees whose conduct could have contributed to the accident so as not to discourage someone from making a report in the first place.

As a general rule of thumb, under OSHA an employer may perform random drug testing; drug testing unrelated to the reporting of a work-related injury or illness; testing under a state workers’ compensation law; testing under other federal law; and drug testing to discern the cause of a workplace incident that harmed or could have harmed employees to include all parties involved.

That doesn’t mean employees do not have rights of their own or that an employer is in compliance with the law when administering drug tests. If you have been wrongfully fired from your job or otherwise retaliated against in the workplace, or have been denied workers’ compensation because of the results of a post-accident drug test, it is important to seek the help of an experienced workers compensation employment attorney immediately.  Call the Des Moines workers’ compensation, employment law attorneys of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC to discuss your issue at515.989.8529.