The Law Office of Brian D. Tadros keeps workers’ compensation clients informed of their rights. Here is a question we’ve answered as part of many workman’s compensation cases over the years: Can your company require you to be drug tested after an injury or accident at work?
In general, no.
But sometimes, yes.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a prohibition of retaliation. It basically means a worker who reports an on-the-job injury or accident cannot be retaliated against. A worker being drug tested — for no other reason than they reported an injury — would constitute such retaliation.
A few years ago, OSHA broadened the scope of what was considered retaliation. That’s when automatic drug testing was added to the list.
OSHA is clear: drug testing may not be done automatically after a worker reports an injury. But new hires can be drug tested, or if the company has reasonable suspicion, or as part of a random drug-testing policy.
Reasonable suspicion means that objective evidence shows that the employee’s actions caused the accident. It also means that there is objectively reasonable evidence to show that the worker was impaired by drugs or alcohol when injured. Thirdly, it means that these substances contributed to cause the accident.
If all three of those criteria are met, it’s possible that to be drug tested after a workplace accident will not be considered retaliatory.
Another issue here in Florida and beyond: When is a drug test no longer valid? For instance, are the results of a drug test two weeks after an accident still relevant to the case? Even a positive drug test is not a clear-cut conclusion. A physician may have prescribed that medication to a worker, for example. That is where judges weigh in.
Companies’ human-resources directors, office managers and risk managers are tasked with reducing costs, such as work-injury claims. Have a reputable, experienced workman’s compensation attorney in your corner to ensure your rights are represented.