Last time, our blog began discussing how Florida employers seeking to establish qualifying drug-free workplace programs — and enjoy the reduced work comp premiums that come from such a step — are afforded considerable authority when it comes to the drug testing of both job applicants and employees.
We also discussed, however, how this authority falls short of absolute, as these employers must take care to abide by exacting testing standards, and honor procedures designed to protect the rights of job applicants and employees alike.
In today’s post, we’ll continue this discussion, focusing on the important protections extended to employees concerning drug testing.
Procedural rights and notice for employee drug testing
While it’s true that employers with drug-free workplace programs may conduct drug tests under a host of circumstances, including randomly, it’s also true that they must provide employees with sufficient notice.
Specifically, a minimum of 60 days must be allowed to pass from the time the employer provides written notice to employees detailing the introduction of a new drug testing policy and the commencement of actual drug testing.
Regarding the findings of the actual test, employers with drug-free workplace programs are not free to summarily terminate any employee who tests positive. Indeed, these employees must be provided with five days to provide an explanation for the result or contest it.
In addition, if the employee who tested positive voluntarily enters treatment for substance abuse — and they have not tested positive or sought treatment in the past — he or she cannot be terminated, disciplined or otherwise discriminated against in any capacity by an employer.
Finally, it must be noted that employers with drug-free workplace programs must follow strict chain-of-custody procedures regarding collection and testing of specimens, and that no adverse action may be taken against an employee on the basis of an initial positive test result that has not been verified by both a confirmation test and a medical review officer.
Consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your options if you believe that your employer has violated your rights regarding workplace drug testing or in conjunction with another matter.