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Wrongfully Terminated After an Illegal Workplace Drug Test?

If you have ever looked for a new job, you probably read many ads on employment search websites or local newspapers. You may have found among the education and experience qualifications a statement explaining that your employment with the company would be contingent on your passing a drug test. Soon after your new employer formally extended you a contract, you probably went to a medical center or lab and gave a urine sample.

Now that you are an employee, you may be subject to random drug testing. No matter your personal feelings about recreational drug use, you may have concerns about how an employer will conduct these tests and how a negative test might affect more than the security of your job. To protect your rights in these circumstances, it is good to understand the law regarding drug tests for new hires and established employees.

Boundaries for drug testing

The federal government, Arizona law and many private businesses approve of drug testing for new employees, especially for those who may be working in dangerous conditions or using heavy equipment. However, just because the law allows drug testing for applicants and employees does not mean your employer can test you any way or time he or she chooses. In fact, you employer may be in violation of your rights with any of the following actions:

  • The drug test may have been an invasion of your privacy if your employer required you to provide a urine sample while others are present.
  • Your employer conducted random drug tests without informing you of the company’s drug-testing policy or providing you with a written copy.
  • Drug testing on the job can be an act of discrimination if your employer singled you out because of your race, color, education, appearance or other characteristics.
  • Arizona permits specific methods for collecting a test sample, and using other methods may render the sample invalid.
  • An employer may never test you secretly without your knowledge – for example, by covertly testing a sample of your hair or saliva.
  • There are designated labs where employers may send samples for drug analysis, and employers who fail to use these prescribed labs may have violated your rights.

Your employment contract or handbook should give clear information about the drug testing policy at your workplace. If you are terminated from your job after a drug test that you believe was an act of discrimination or a breach of your employment contract, you have every right to seek legal counsel about the best way to proceed.