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Drug-Free Workplace Policy and Program Template

Drug Testing Laws by State

There is no comprehensive federal law that regulates drug testing in the private sector. The Drug-Free Workplace Act does impose certain employee education requirements on companies that do business with the government, but it does require testing, nor does it restrict testing in any way. Drug testing is allowed under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because the ADA does not consider drug abuse a disability -- but the law does not regulate or prohibit testing. Instead of a comprehensive regulatory system, federal law provides for specific agencies to adopt drug testing regulations for employers under their jurisdiction.

The Department of Defense requires defense contractors to set up procedures for identifying drug users, including random testing. The Department of Transportation requires the industries it regulates to conduct random drug and alcohol testing for workers in safety sensitive jobs, as well as testing after accidents and when there is "reasonable suspicion" of employee substance abuse. The federal Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act (OTETA) requires tests for all operators of aircraft, railroad equipment, mass transportation vehicles, and commercial motor vehicles.

Since there is no comprehensive federal drug testing law, this leaves the field open to state regulation, and many states have enacted provisions imposing drug testing restrictions of various kinds. Some limit testing to "reasonable suspicion" or "probable cause" situations. Some explicitly authorize random testing under certain circumstances. Some impose restrictions on public sector employers but not on private companies. Many prescribe specific methods for handling of specimens and he use of test results. Only states that have drug testing laws are listen in the website.

As a general rule, testing is presumed to be lawful unless there is a specific restriction in state or federal law. However, the body of law on employee privacy and related issues continues to evolve, and any testing program that is not explicitly authorized by law should be considered open to legal challenge. Of equal importance is the controversial character of employee drug testing in labor management relations and the potential for legal challenges from this quarter.

Source: ACLU, rev. April 2004


Material on these pages (state drug testing laws and drug testing regulations) is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal, medical or technical advice. This drug testing related information is not intended as substitute for obtaining legal advice from attorney, or a relevant medical technical or financial professional. TestCountry is not a law firm or a legal agency, therefore cannot guarantee the accuracy of this content. Drug testing laws are collected from legal and/or state sources, and it may or may not be valid by the time you are viewing it. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Confirm Biosciences Inc. DBA TestCountry.

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