The percentage of employers that drug test employees before hiring them hovers under 2% in most U.S. cities. However, employers in Arlington screen employees much more frequently than businesses in surrounding areas. Nearly 7% of jobs in Arlington, TX, require pre-employment drug testing. Nationally, businesses spend billions on drug testing each year.
Can your employer drug test you?
In Texas, there are basically no laws restricting a private employer’s right to implement workplace drug testing. This means if an employer adheres to testing regulations, they can require employees to submit to testing. Common regulations include maintaining employee confidentiality and providing all employees with information about the company’s testing policy. Employers are not allowed to discriminate against employees, and single out an individual or demographic for drug testing. This includes singling out individuals based on race, disability, gender, or age. A private company can select specific departments to test. For instance, they may require people who operate heavy machinery to submit to a drug test, but not an administrative worker.
Each company decides whether or not they’ll enforce drug testing, unless the company operates under government control. Then the government may require them to drug test employees. The company may also be required to test employees to keep certain federal contracts and grants. Companies in aviation, trucking, railroads, mass transit, pipelines, and other transportation industries may screen employees to ensure they can meet safety expectations.
Can your employer report the results of your test to the police?
Companies are under no legal obligation to report failed drug tests to the police. In fact, sharing your test results with any third-party would be illegal in most cases. Your job description may require you to notify the DMV or unemployment agencies of test results, but not law enforcement agencies. The only exception would be if you were on probation. A court can order your employer to divulge your test results. The court may also order the release of your test results as part of an investigation.
Can you lose your job or not get hired if your test is positive?
If you are using the drug legitimately, with a prescription, and under the care of a physician, it should not prevent you from being hired. You will only need to show you can perform the essential functions of the job. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces fair hiring practices by private entities. They advocate for individuals who lost out on an employment opportunity due to a drug test result, without being given the chance to explain.
Under the ADA, an employer can test an applicant for use of illegal drugs. The state of Texas considers a positive test to be a legitimate reason to not hire someone. If you think your prescription drug could cause a positive test result, you may want to disclose your prescription and be prepared to explain why you take it. You can also request a doctor’s note for your file.
A failed drug test while you’re on probation may result in your re-arrest, jail time, additional probation time, additional terms and conditions, a fine, and a conviction. The judge in your jurisdiction can order random or regular drug testing. Your probation officer can test you at any time for any reason.
Davis, Ermis & Roberts is on your side
If you believe your employer unjustly shared your test results with a third-party, or didn’t give you the opportunity to explain your prescription pill use, give us a call. Our experienced lawyers at Davis, Ermis & Roberts will review your case, and make sure your employer doesn’t infringe upon your rights. We can offer you specialized knowledge and dedicated focus while we put together the strongest possible legal strategy.