A Business-Minded Approach To Employment Law

What Florida law has to say about employee drug testing

On Behalf of | May 27, 2016 | Employment Disputes |

Given the constant and growing dialogue both here in Florida and across the nation about the legalization of marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes, it’s only natural that questions might arise as to what impact, if any, these conversations — and even some decriminalization measures — have had on the area of employee drug testing.

As far as the Sunshine State is concerned, the area of employee drug testing has remained unchanged as far as marijuana or any other controlled substance is concerned. Indeed, state law dictates that those employers who establish what is known as a drug-free workplace program can qualify for a reduction on their work comp insurance premiums.

It’s important to understand, however, that those employers looking to establish qualifying drug-free workplace programs must do more than just abide by rigorous testing standards, they must also ensure that they respect those procedures designed to protect the rights of both job applicants and employees.

Applicants and drug testing

Any job applicant who has received a conditional offer of employment from an employer with a drug-free workplace program in place will be required to submit to a drug test.

It’s important to understand, however, that an employer can’t simply spring this drug test on prospective employees. Indeed, they are required to set forth the testing requirement in any announcements or advertisements for the position.   

Employees and drug testing

Employers with drug-free workplace programs are essentially given carte blanche when it comes to drug testing employees, meaning they can administer drug tests under the following circumstances:

  • Where there are reasonable suspicions of drug use (erratic/abnormal behavior, observable phenomena, report of drug use, etc.)
  • As part of a regularly scheduled fitness-for-duty medical exam
  • After a return to work following a stint in rehab stemming from a positive drug test
  • Whenever the employer sees fit (i.e., random drug tests)

While it may seem as if employees are truly at the mercy of employers when it comes to drug testing, they are entitled to certain important protections under state law. We’ll explore these employee protections in our next post.

If you believe that an employer has violated your rights in any capacity, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your options.