Can you refuse to take a drug test? According to Quest Laboratories, in 2017, 4.7% of Texas workers who underwent drug testing at their lab tested positive for drugs that included hallucinogens and heroin. Whether you believe you would test positive or not, you may be hesitant to agree to a drug test. However, you may have to.
Many people have questions about whether or not drug tests are legal in Texas. The truth is that Texas laws regarding drug testing do protect the employer’s rights to test you, but you also have rights. Whether or not you can refuse to agree to workplace drug policy or drug testing mostly depends on the wording of the policy.
The Drug Testing Policy
Texas employers are allowed to test their employees for drug or alcohol use, but they must create a policy that cites the company’s goals for this type of testing. The employer may state in the policy that the company tests employees at random as well as when they believe that someone may be using drugs or alcohol. The policy must definitively state the exact reasons that employees would be required to submit to a substance test.
If an employer is going to send an employee for a drug and alcohol test due to the suspicion of use, the employer must be able to present a reason for the suspicion. For example, an employee may have been involved in an accident that resulted in injuries. Employers are free to define the reasons that they would send their employees for drug testing.
The language of the drug testing policy must be easily understandable by all employees. If it can be proven that you could not reasonably have understood a company’s drug test policy, the results could be deemed invalid.
The Pre-Employment Drug Screen
Some employers prefer to test applicants for drugs or alcohol before they are hired, and they are allowed to do this as well. Employers must keep the results under the same conditions that they keep the employees’ other confidential medical records. In the event that these records are not maintained properly, the employees would have the right to sue their employers for defamation or invasion of privacy.
Because of the HIPAA laws, employers may find it difficult to obtain the results of their employees’ drug tests. Employers must ask their employees to sign a consent form that allows them to obtain those results from the lab.
Your medical records may be private, but one place you can’t count on getting any privacy during the drug testing process is the bathroom. Because it is easy to fake your way through a drug test, workers can’t claim invasion of privacy if an employer or potential employer watches then urinate during a drug test.
Cooperation of the Employee
If an employer were to use physical force to get an employee to submit to a drug test, this would open the employer up to a lawsuit against him for the intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, battery, or assault.
An employee does have the right to refuse to take a drug test, but the employer also has the right to dismiss the employee from her job immediately. This must be clearly stated within the policy.
After a Positive Result
Employers have the right to release employees after they test positive for drug or alcohol use. They may also offer these employees a chance to enter rehab and return to work on a probationary basis, but this is not required under Texas law.
Who Can Be Tested?
Employers are free to test some employees and not others, but they must proceed carefully. For example, it would be reasonable for employers to test employees if they work with heavy machinery and not test the office workers. One big mistake employers make when conducting drug testing that could get them into legal trouble is only choosing to test employees of a certain race.
Refusing to Sign the Policy
According to Texas law, an employer may terminate an employee if he refuses to sign the drug testing policy. This is only allowed after the employer warns the employee that his refusal to sign can result in termination.
Questionable Drug Testing
Although employers are allowed to ask their employees to submit to drug testing, you may believe that your drug test wasn’t legal. For example, you may be taking medication for a disability, or you may believe that you were asked to take a drug test based on your race.
If you are questioning the legality of a drug test, you can consult with an employment attorney so that you can ask questions about Texas drug testing laws. An attorney will answer all of your questions and ensure that your rights are protected if there has been a violation.
” This article is a collaboration with a freelance writer and follows The Haitian Times publishing guidelines”
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