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Can Employers Administer Drug Tests to Employees in Florida?

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Testing employees for drugs is certainly a controversial subject. Many employers want to maintain a drug-free environment in the workplace, but it’s also understandable that employees have concerns about privacy.  Before you decide to administer drug tests to all your employees in Florida, it’s important to understand what the law allows. If you have questions, we recommend you also reach out to a West Palm Beach labor and employment lawyer who can let you know what is permissible.

Federal Law on Drug Testing

Federal labor laws do not have guidelines that require or prohibit you from drug testing an employee, unless you are a company that does business with the United States government, like federal contractors or employees whose positions are safety-sensitive.

Florida State Law on Drug Testing

Florida law doesn’t have any requirements that private businesses administer drug tests to its employees. However, if you do, there are some things you should be aware of. Florida follows the Workers’ Compensation Drug-Free Workplace program. If you implement this and follow the requirements to obtain certification with the state, then your company can qualify for a break on workers’ compensation insurance premiums.

If you participate in the program, you are required to drug test any prospective employee after extending a conditional offer of employment. You need to list your plans to drug test in the job advertisement or listing as well.

Some of the procedures that you must follow if you participate in the program include:

  • A job candidate who is offered a job needs to undergo testing, although the employee can begin work pending the test results.
  • Employers are required to test upon any reasonable suspicion of illegal drug use. Reasonable suspicion can be defined as a report of drug use, observations, deterioration of work performance, or any sudden changes in the employee’s behavior.
  • Employers have to test their employees who return to work after completion of a rehabilitation program after a positive drug test. In the event the employee left voluntarily, then you are not required to perform any drug test.
  • An employee must be drug tested after returning to work from an absence as part of an exam for fitness of duty. Employers can require employees to take a drug test as part of an annual “fitness for duty” exam as well.

The aforementioned requirements only apply to employers who want to obtain state certification. If you are not seeking certification, there is no requirement that you do or do not conduct random drug testing on your employees.

Medical Marijuana in Florida

Employees who use medical marijuana are likely concerned how this will affect drug testing. While a Florida resident may have a legal medical marijuana card, it doesn’t prohibit you from terminating them in accordance with your company’s policy or that of the drug-free workplace program. Some companies recognize how difficult it is to find qualified employees, so they are leaving marijuana out of the testing panels.

Contact a Florida Employment Law Attorney

If you have questions about instituting a drug testing program at your company, contact the team of Florida employment law attorneys at Pincus & Currier LLP at 561-868-1340 to schedule an initial consultation.

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