Drug tests shield employees and employers from potentially harmful consequences. Some types of work can become dangerous if an employee is under the influence, resulting in harmful or fatal consequences and legal liabilities. Anyone searching for work knows that taking a drug test is often a requirement when applying for a job. However, you might wonder whether the law permits your boss to drug test you once you are on the payroll.
While federal or state laws require some employers to conduct drug tests for their employees, regulations may restrict or prohibit workplace testing for other types of organizations. Employers and employees alike should familiarize themselves with the rules associated with drug testing.
How Does Federal Law Influence Drug Testing?
Federal regulations require drug testing in some industries, such as trucking and aviation. Employees in these sectors have a significant potential to cause catastrophic accidents if they conduct their work under the influence of drugs. Testing can act as both a deterrent and a means of preventing intoxicated individuals from taking others’ lives into their hands.
However, employers who wish to carry out drug tests on their employees must have a comprehensive and transparent policy. Without such guidelines, employees of private companies might have the right to oppose any testing their employers attempt to carry out.
Government employees tend to have fewer rights in this regard because federal, state, or local statutes determine their employers’ testing practices.
How Does Georgia Law Influence Drug Testing?
Georgia law does not require private employers to have a mandatory drug testing policy. Nevertheless, an employer can implement a drug-free workplace program (DFWP). These programs, which derive from the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation, give employers a discount on their state-mandated workers’ compensation premiums.
When an employer implements a DFWP, they must adhere to standards such as:
- A transparent, written drug testing policy
- Substance abuse testing upon reasonable suspicion of use
- Resources and education for employees
- Supervisor training
- Confidentiality standards
When an employer begins a DFWP, they must notify their employees and applicants and provide access to the policy, which must outline the following:
- Information about the types of tests they will require
- Consequences of positive test results
- Consequences of refusing to take a test
- Confidentiality statement
- Information about the employee assistance program
- Information about an employee’s right to contest a positive result
Furthermore, the employer may not begin testing until 60 days after all employees have received the policy.
Georgia law does not prevent employers from taking action against those who test positive for alcohol or drugs.
Do I Need to Tell My Employer about My Prescription Medication?
Employers do not generally have a right to access any of their workers’ medical history, including prescription drug use. If workplace drug tests reveal the presence of prescription drugs, your employer should keep this information confidential.
However, while medical cannabis has been legal in Georgia for those with a qualifying medical condition since 2015, the law does not necessarily protect you from adverse action if you test positive for medical cannabis. If you believe your use of prescription marijuana may have consequences for your employment, contact an experienced employment law attorney immediately.
Contact The Vaughn Law Firm
If you have questions about your employer’s right to drug test you, contact The Vaughn Law Firm’s seasoned employment law attorneys today for a consultation about your legal options. Our skilled lawyers dedicate themselves to protecting workers’ rights in Georgia and Washington, D.C. Call us today at 877-615-9495 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you.