Random Drug Testing and New York Law

Random drug testing has become more and more common in the American workplace, and New York is no different. The practice is controversial in some quarters, but while many states have restricted employers’ ability to drug-test their employees, there is no law on the books in New York that prohibits or restricts it. The only problem a New York employer can run into with drug testing is if the testing is administered in a discriminatory way.

Random drug testing can be defined in a couple of different ways. Most commonly, it refers to the practice of selecting employees at random, without suspicion and without warning. It may also refer to the practice of testing all employees at once, again unannounced and without any particular suspicion that employees may be in violation of company drug policy.

In the event that an employee tests positive for an illegal substance, a New York employer is within its legal rights to terminate the employee, provided that the company’s drug testing policy has been made clear in writing. An employee who refuses to take a drug test can also be fired, and an employee struggling with substance abuse may also be at risk, even if they’ve taken time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act in an attempt to recover from their addiction.

Know your rights when it comes to drug testing

Given the employee-friendly nature of much New York employment law, the state’s lack of restrictions on random drug testing may be surprising. However, it is still possible for an employer to badly misuse, and even to discriminate against its employees while administering, a random drug test. For example, a drug test given to an employee on the basis of race, gender or age may be grounds for a discrimination suit. Additionally, the Americans with Disabilities Act protects employees from termination in the event that a lawfully prescribed but otherwise illegal drug turns up in a random test.

If you have been fired as a result of a random drug test and believe that you were discriminated against in some way, meet with a skilled employment law attorney with the Derek T. Smith Law Group in New York.

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