While California law does not require most employers to conduct employee drug testing unless doing so is necessary to comply with federal law, many California employers drug test their employees. Thus, it is essential that Los Angeles workers understand the state’s drug testing laws to protect themselves and their jobs. At The Nourmand Law Firm, APC, we represent workers—and only workers—in all types of employment disputes, including those who were wrongfully terminated due to illegal drug testing programs. Our LA drug testing lawyers can help you understand your rights and pursue the relief you are entitled to.Does California Allow Employers to Drug Test Employees?
Under the California Constitutional, all workers have a right to privacy, and a worker’s right to privacy is understandably impacted when their employer requires they take a drug test. However, at the same time, courts have held that employers also have an interest in controlling their workplace. Thus, California law permits employers to conduct drug testing in certain situations. However, whether an employer can require a person to take a drug test depends on the circumstances.Job Applicants Versus Employees
One important distinction when it comes to drug testing is who the employer is demanding to take a drug test. California courts routinely allow employers to drug test job prospective employees. Thus, if you are applying for a job, you should expect that the potential employer will ask you to take a drug test. If you refuse, the employer is within their rights not to hire you. The exception to this is if an employer only requires certain job applicants to take a drug test. To be legal, an employer’s drug testing policy must not discriminate against certain workers and must also be conducted in a fair and consistent manner to all applicants who are applying for a position.
However, if you were already hired, you have additional protections. For example, California law almost universally precludes employers from conducting random or suspicionless drug tests on employees. The exception to this is if an employee’s job is one that impacts public safety. For example, trucking companies are legally required to drug test employees.Drug Testing Based on Reasonable Suspicion
The situation where employers have the greatest ability to drug test employees is when they develop “reasonable suspicion” that an employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. For example, any of the following could give an employer a reasonable suspicion that an employee was using drugs in the workplace:
- The employee is involved in an accident;
- A reliable source informs an employer of an employee’s drug use;
- An employee exhibits erratic behavior consistent with drug use; or
- The employer observes an employee using drugs
In these cases, an employer’s interest in demanding a drug test is stronger. However, just because an employer claims to have reasonable suspicion of an employee’s drug use doesn’t mean the employee is without recourse. An employee can challenge an employer’s drug testing decision.
The final thing to keep in mind about drug testing is the importance of the employee handbook. An employee handbook should lay out an employer’s drug testing policy in clear terms so workers know what to expect. If an employer’s drug testing decision goes against the employee handbook, it may not be permitted.Were You Fired After Your Employer Demanded You Take a Drug Test?
If you were recently fired after failing a drug test, reach out to the dedicated Los Angeles employment lawyers at The Nourmand Law Firm, APC. At The Nourmand Law Firm, we have more than 20 years of experience standing on for the rights of California workers, ensuring their fair treatment. We routinely handle all types of employment disputes on behalf of employees, including wrongful termination due to illegal drug testing. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Los Angeles employment lawyer with The Nourmand Law Firm, APC, call 800-700-WAGE (9243) today. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.