These days, many employers test employees and job applicants for drugs.
If you are asked to submit to a drug test, you should know your legal rights.
There are a few safety-sensitive industries that the government requires
testing by employers – i.e., contractors with NASA and the Department
of Defense – federal law generally does not require or prohibit
Tennessee, along with numerous other states, has a drug-free workplace
program in place that regulates how employers conduct drug testing. Employers
who follow the program may qualify for a discount on their workers'
compensation insurance premiums, providing employers follow the state's rules.
In order for an employer to receive a discount on their workers' compensation
premiums, the employer must have their employees submit to drug tests
under certain circumstances.
Qualifying for a Drug-Free Workplace
In order for Tennessee employers to qualify for having a drug-free workplace,
they must test applicants who receive a conditional offer of employment.
Further, limited testing is allowed when it is conducted on applicants
whose jobs may require potentially dangerous activities, such as operating
heavy machinery, or driving large trucks.
When an employer requires drug testing, they must provide notice of the
drug testing in its job ads and postings.
Which employees get tested?
In order for a Tennessee employer to qualify for a drug-free workplace,
the employer must test:
- After a workplace accident
- Employees who are in safety-sensitive positions
- If required by the employer's policy, as a routine fitness-for-duty
- As a follow up to a rehabilitation program
As an employee, you do have the right to contest or explain positive results
within five days. You cannot be disciplined, fired, or discriminated against
if you voluntarily seek treatment for substance abuse, unless you have
previously tested positive, or have already been enrolled in a substance
Do I have a legal claim?
While Tennessee laws allow employers to drug test their employees, an employee
or job applicant may have a legal claim if the test was not conducted
correctly. For example, if an employee or applicant was taking medication
for a disability such as an opiate, the employee or applicant cannot be
turned down because of a positive drug test in this instance, providing
the medication was legally prescribed for the disability.
Other scenarios where you may have a claim:
- The employer violated state laws or regulations
- Disability discrimination
- Invasion of privacy
- Defamation of character
- Age, race, or gender discrimination
Do you think you might have a claim? Contact an attorney from
The Bowlin Law Firm. We represent clients throughout Morristown and Hamblen County. Call (423)
571-2667 to schedule a
free case evaluation.