What are the Laws for Random Drug Testing in Texas?
Since the enactment of the Drug-free Workplace Act in 1988, employment drug testing has become commonplace in the United States. While laws exist that regulate random testing of federal employees nationwide, laws that limit drug testing by private employers vary greatly between states. In the state of Texas there is no legislation that restricts private companies from practicing random drug testing in the workplace, as long as an employee’s other rights are not violated by company testing practices.
Employees may seek legal claims against an employer in Texas following random drug testing if the testing was perceived to be discriminatory, an invasion of privacy, or defamatory. For example, if an employer were to test only employees of a certain age or race while not testing other employees it could be considered discriminatory. Further, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from taking action against any employee that tests positive due to medication for a disability, which is also grounds for a discrimination claim. Forcing an employee to undress or urinate in the presence of others could be considered a privacy violation in certain circumstances. Finally, an employee may be able to claim defamation if a false positive test result is released in a way that impacts other areas of the employees life, especially if the employer knew the result was false.
Employers who wish to perform drug testing can best protect themselves and their companies by instituting a legally sound drug testing policy developed with a lawyer. Policies should clearly define in what situations testing will occur and consequences of a positive test result. Common situations to include in a policy are “for cause” testing when an employee is suspected to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, drug testing following an accident that occurs during work hours or involves company property, or random testing that can occur at any time after policy notice has been given. In an ideal situation employers should have employees sign off when they receive initial notice of the policy, as well as utilize a consent form whenever an employee is tested. Employers can further protect themselves by insuring that the laboratory used to validate test results is experienced with drug testing and uses industry best practices.