Random drug testing of employees has been a fact of life at many companies. There have been many instances of employees being denied Workers’ Compensation benefits because they failed a drug test following an on-the-job injury.
This is not a minor problem. Many people drink and do recreational drugs. It is very easy to have trace amounts of a substance in your system following an injury. That does not mean the substance caused the injury. But it poses a problem for employers: Do they come down hard on workers who fail the test? Are they to be denied treatment based on test results?
OSHA Tries to Clarify the Issue
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidelines in 2016 clarifying the proper use of drug testing, warning employers that using drug testing following injuries would not be tolerated. The agency recently clarified its position.
OSHA is not saying that drug testing following injuries is illegal, but that employers are not allowed to use drug testing as a form of retaliation against workers who file claims.
When Drug Testing Is Permitted
Allowed practices include:
- Random drug testing
- Drug testing that is not related to a work-related injury being reported
- Drug testing that meets state Workers’ Compensation rules
- Drug testing under other federal law, such as a Department of Transportation rule
- Drug testing to learn the root cause of a workplace accident that resulted in employee injuries
What OSHA disallows is drug testing clearly intended to punish workers. OSHA’s clarification boils down to employers respecting worker’s privacy rights.
State laws and federal laws can come into conflict. In Louisiana, for instance, it is assumed that if an employee fails a drug test after an accident resulting in an injury, the alcohol or drugs detected were the cause of the injury.
Taking legal medication for a disability is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). You may not be punished if the drug is legally prescribed for you.
Good News for Injured Workers
The real test is not for trace amounts in your blood or urine. It is whether these substances caused you to be impaired and if that impairment led to the injury. That is a lot for employers to demonstrate.
Even when you fail a drug test, there is a very good chance you will retain medical and other benefits. But your claim will be stronger if you are assisted by a skilled, knowledgeable Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyer.
Wilmington Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Defend Against Unlawful Retaliation
Failing a drug test should not cost you your rights under Workers’ Compensation law. If an employer has retaliated against you because of a failed drug test, you need to talk to the Wilmington workplace injury lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC.
Our lawyers will help you get the benefits that you deserve. Call us today at 302-888-1221 or contact us online. We serve clients throughout Delaware, including Wilmington, Dover, Middletown and Newark; Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia, Delaware County, and Chester County; and New Jersey.