Prior to committing to a contract, numerous Florida employers subject new workers to drug screening. But while the federal government encourages employers to conduct drug tests in a handful of safety-sensitive industry segments (such as transportation, aviation, and contractors with NASA and the Department of Defense), federal law does not mandate – or explicitly forbid – drug tests in other industries. This portion is mostly governed by local and state laws.
Florida, as well as numerous states in the United States, has a program for drug-free workplaces. Employers in Florida who implement this program may be eligible for a rebate on their workers’ compensation insurance premiums.
Florida signed Amendment 2 in 2016, allowing for medical adult marijuana use and creating a legal issue among medical marijuana patients and worker drug testing laws.
Owing to Florida’s recent laws on workplace drug testing, places of employment that actively engage in the Program can still drug screen a medical marijuana patient. Positive test findings may still lead to consequences if they contravene work policy.
Workers in Florida have a few rights with regard to drug testing. Employers may partake in random checks under Florida law, but employees must be aware of their intentions. The state law encourages employers to follow numerous guidelines as a condition of participating in a drug-free workplace in return for the advantages noted above.
Important Florida Labor Laws Regarding Drug Testing for Employees
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Florida Employee Regulations
Employers in Florida that participate in the drug-free workplace program will be required to screen workers in the following circumstances:
- If there is a rebuttable presumption of drug use (reasons for suspicion include observable phenomena, erratic or abnormal behavior, or a report of drug use)
- As a portion of a routine medical examination for fitness for duty
- If a worker returns to work upon undergoing rehabilitation and tests positive for drugs. If the worker decided to enter rehab willfully instead of as a result of a positive drug test, further testing is not necessary.
- Employers may also carry out random drug screening.
Rules for Florida Job Applicants
Employers in Florida with a program for drug-free workplaces are legally permitted to drug screen job candidates who have been provided with a provisional job offer. If a company requires candidates to undergo a test, it will be expected to include a notice about the testing precondition within the employment notices or advertisements.
Employees’ Notice and Procedural Rights
An employer who wants to execute drug screening will have to provide employees with written notice at least 60 days in advance. Workers who fail the test have five days to challenge or clarify the outcome.
Employers are required by state law to follow a specific process of collecting samples, running tests, privacy and confidentiality, and so on. Workers who desire treatment for substance abuse consensually cannot be dismissed, reprimanded, or treated unfairly unless they have previously tested positive or participated in treatment.
Aside from alcohol, workplace drug testing laws in Florida make it possible for a 10-panel screening for amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), hallucinogens, methaqualone, opiates, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and synthetic narcotics under the Drug-Free Workplace program.
According to Florida Drug-Free Workplace Code 59A-24.004, the only sample type that can be utilized for drug testing is urine. Blood samples may be used for alcohol testing under Florida drug testing compliance laws. Drug testing compliance laws and regulations actually encourage the use of hair, urine, and blood for alcohol and drug testing.
Laboratories used by Florida employers for drug testing must always be certified by Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, or SAMHSA.
Workers and job candidates may also have civil cases premised on the way the test was administered, who was examined, or how the outcomes have been used, even though Florida rules permit employers to drug test. Here are a couple of examples:
- State laws and guidelines have been violated: While an employer does have the legitimate right to test, this must adhere to the laws of the state. A Florida employer who fails to provide information necessary about its testing policy or fails to follow state due process rights (for instance, by not carrying out testing to confirm after an initial positive result) may face severe penalties.
- Discrimination based on impairment: The Americans with Disabilities Act protects a job seeker or worker who is getting treatment for a disability (ADA).
Several prescription medications emerge on drug tests, and even some illicit substances (including opiates) are justifiably recommended for specific conditions. If a job seeker is denied following a positive drug test and the applicant’s medication was prescribed by a doctor for a disability, the company may be held liable.
- Other claims of discrimination: An employer who targets specific segments of staff for drug testing, such as by racial group, age, or sex, may suffer a discrimination lawsuit.
- Invasion of one’s privacy: Even if an employer is deemed necessary or authorized to test, the manner in which the test is conducted may contravene worker privacy. For instance, mandating workers to strip down and then provide a urine specimen, especially in public may be an infringement of their privacy.
- Defamation: If the employer discloses that the worker tested positive and the employee has grounds to believe that the test is inaccurate, the worker may have a legitimate argument for defamation.