It is fairly common practice for job applicants to be asked to undergo drug testing prior to their hiring. Less commonly, some employers may also ask active employees to submit to drug testing. In either case, though, it is reasonable for potential or current employees to question the legality of the testing.
Federal employment laws do not explicitly require or prohibit employee drug testing in most cases, so state laws must be applied, instead. Employment attorney Dan A. Atkerson can help his Allen, TX, clients understand how employment law pertains to drug testing in Texas, as well as the legal options available to them if they feel that they have been tested by an employer unjustly.
Texas Drug Testing Laws
Most states have specific laws that regulate or restrict how and when governmental agencies can require drug testing of their employees. However, Texas does not have legislation that addresses drug testing for private employers. Aside from federal laws that require drug testing for employees in certain safety-sensitive industries, Texas employers are left without any legal guidance. The absence of employee drug testing regulations essentially gives Texas employers the right to request employee and applicant drug testing as they see fit.
Your Legal Protections
Our Plano clients may believe that the lack of employment drug testing laws leaves them without any legal protections if they feel they’ve been unjustly required to take a drug test. However, there are certain employment laws that may apply. If an employer’s requirement for a drug test violates other employment laws that are in place, they can face legal action.
The laws that most commonly apply to cases involving employee drug testing are anti-discrimination laws. Disability discrimination and general discrimination laws both provide our Frisco clients with certain legal protections that may be applicable to drug tests.
- Disability discrimination – People with disabilities cannot be discriminated against for their condition or for the use of any medication that their condition requires. If someone with disabilities is fired or denied employment because a prescribed medication resulted in a false positive drug test, or because an otherwise illegal drug has been legally prescribed to them, that is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- General discrimination – Anti-discrimination laws make it illegal to discriminate against an employer on the basis of age, race, gender, and so on. If an employer singles out employees who belong to a certain group (i.e. only requiring drug tests for female employees), a discrimination claim can be filed.
Invasion of Privacy
Even in cases where drug tests are legitimately required, employees may be provided certain protections under privacy laws. A drug test may be classified as an invasion of privacy if the testing was conducted improperly (i.e. an employee was asked to disrobe or urinate in front of others), or if drug test results were published and made available to other employees. In situations such as these, Mr. Atkerson must examine the circumstances surrounding the test to determine if a privacy violation has been made.
If you have undergone, or been asked to submit to employee drug testing, attorney Dan A. Atkerson can look at the circumstances to determine if your employment rights have been violated. To discuss your situation in further detail, send us a message at your earliest convenience or call (214) 617-1327.