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Drug And Alcohol Testing: Do Employers Have The Right To Submit Employees To Drug And Alcohol Testing? Do These Tests Enfringe On The Rights Of Employees?

1137 words - 5 pages

Employee drug and alcohol abuse costs American employers billions of dollars in decreased productivity, increased liability insurance and higher workers' compensation insurance premiums. Employers may be liable for the negligence of an employee that is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and may be held liable for negligently hiring an employee with a history of abusing drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, drug and alcohol abuse is also blamed for high employee absentee rates. All of these factors give employers an incentive to test their job applicants and current employees for illegal drugs or alcohol.Because state and federal laws have been passed to allow employers to test their employee for on-the-job drug or alcohol abuse, the odds that an individual may be subjected to a drug test have increased substantially in today's workplace. Whether required by a government agency or a private employer, drug tests are being used. In some cases, drug and alcohol tests are mandatory, in order to either screen an individual for drugs or as an incentive to keep an individual from using drugs. The more these tests are required, the more employees become accustomed to them. It stands to reason that if more employees become accustomed to drug testing, then those tests will become even more common. Today, individuals subject to drug testing include government employees, military personnel, those involved in the transportation industry, student athletes, and countless other employees. Both state and federal courts have been willing to extend the use of drug testing for purposes of safety, improved workplace efficiency, national security and to deter drug use.The Fourth Amendment was intended to protect the personal privacy and dignity of every citizen against unwarranted intrusions by the government. A search can be defined as a government intrusion into an area where a person has a reasonable and justified expectation of privacy. A seizure is defined as the exercise of control by the government over a person or thing. Requiring an individual to provide a urine sample for the purpose of performing a drug or alcohol test constitutes a search and seizure, which may violate an individual's fourth amendment right. Depending upon the facts and circumstances surrounding the search, it may be unconstitutional for an employer to require an employee to provide such a sample. The constitutionality of a drug or alcohol test depends upon the "reasonableness" of the test. What is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment depends upon the specific facts and circumstances of each case. The definition of ""reasonableness" has evolved over the years and continues to evolve. Certainly, what is reasonable today was not reasonable twenty or thirty years ago.On the other hand, there is no constitutional prohibition for a private individual or organization to conduct what would otherwise be an unreasonable drug test. For example, a private employer may require an employee to submit to...

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