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Article Summary

Drug Testing Laws

The drug testing laws are very complex. Below is a summary of the basics of drug testing laws in workplaces.

What happens to you if you fail a drug test

What happens to you if you fail drug testing solely depends on set policies. For instance, if you are employed and you fail a drug test, you are subjected to employer policy on drug use/abuse. If you are a regular citizen you will be subjected to the provisions in state or municipal drug testing laws. Under the current drug testing laws, employers have good cause to deny you a promotion, fire you or take other relevant disciplinary actions against you. Potential employers have ground/s to deny you employment if you happen to fail a drug test.

In case you are fired because you failed a drug test and after that you happen to injure yourself and test positive for drugs, local or state drug testing laws among other relevant laws give your employer rights to deny you benefits i.e. unemployment benefits, disability benefits and worker's compensation benefits.

It is important to note that drug testing laws are not the same everywhere. They vary depending on the state and municipality. For instance, some state and municipalities don't have a zero tolerance policy on drugs therefore you might just get pardoned because of failing a drug test for the first time.

Also, instead of being fired because of failing a drug test, your employer can decide to offer you the option of enrolling in an employee drug assistance program. Your employer can even direct you to seek drug counselling among other drug help programs on your own. It is important to note that this isn't beneficial to you only. It costs employers money to fire and hire employee replacements. Treatment programs therefore offer cheaper alternatives for dealing with drug problems in employment settings.

It is important to note that you can refuse to attend drug treatment programs in case you fail drug testing. This is most likely to lead to unemployment even in the case of recreational or responsible drug use that doesn't require help. Once you refuse to take the drug treatment option after failing a drug test, your employer has no other option but to fire you. It is also important to note that once you accept the drug treatment option, your employer is under no obligation to offer you sick leave pay by law.

Submitting to drug testing

It is important to note that the law doesn't require you to submit to a drug test if you do not want to. It's your right to refuse drug testing however there are consequences that are as harsh as those associated with failing drug testing. This is because you are considered guilty until it is proven innocent. Under state or municipal drug testing laws, your employer has a good cause to lay you off.

Arrest after failing drug testing

It is very unlikely that you will be arrested for failing drug testing. There is however a slight chance that you can be arrested. It is important to note that there is too much controversy surrounding drug testing accuracy and privacy invasion because of factors such as evidence viability. Also, the government encourages rehabilitation and treatment as opposed to arrest. You might however get arrested if you happen to be caught using drugs by your employer. Your employer may also be justified by law to fire you.

Can you sue for violation of rights?

Currently there are pending lawsuits challenging random drug testing at workplaces as violations of personal rights stipulated under the 4th and 14th amendments. There have also been cases where job candidates and employees have sued employers for carrying out or demanding random drug testing. Employees and job candidates have ended up winning such cases on simple basis i.e. failure of the employer to abide by state or municipal drug testing laws in workplaces.

It is however important to note that some workplace drug testing cases filled by employees and job candidates have lost. It therefore depends on specific situations. The bottom line is you have grounds for suing or challenging certain drug testing law outcomes if you happen to fail a drug test or if you happen to refuse to take a drug test.

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