Employer Drug Testing

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In Connecticut, an employer may require current or prospective employees to submit to drug testing under very specific and limited circumstances.  However, the ability of an employer to require a drug test is different for each classification of worker.

The requirements for the test themselves are consistent for both prospective and current employees.  Such a test must consist of a urinalysis test, utilizing a reliable methodology, which produced a positive result and such positive test result was confirmed by a second urinalysis drug test, which was separate and independent from the initial test, utilizing a gas chromatography and mass spectrometry methodology, or a methodology which has been determined by the Commissioner of Public Health to be as reliable or more reliable than the gas chromatography and mass spectrometry methodology.

Prospective Employees

For a prospective employee not yet hired, no employer may require a prospective employee to submit to a urinalysis drug test as part of the application procedure for employment with such employer unless: (1) the prospective employee is informed in writing at the time of application of the employer’s intent to conduct such a drug test; (2) such test is conducted in accordance with the methodology discussed above in this article; and (3) the prospective employee is given a copy of any positive urinalysis drug test result.  The results of any such test must be held confidential and shall not be disclosed by the employer or its employees to any person other than any such employee to whom such disclosure is necessary.

For Current Employees

To force a test of a current employee, the employer must meet a “reasonable suspicion” threshold.   Under Connecticut law, no employer may require an employee to submit to a urinalysis drug test unless the employer has reasonable suspicion that the employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol which adversely affects or could adversely affect such employee’s job performance. However, notwithstanding the above, an employer may require an employee to submit to a urinalysis drug test on a random basis if: (1) such test is authorized under federal law; (2) the employee serves in an occupation which has been designated as a high-risk or safety-sensitive occupation pursuant to regulations adopted by the Labor Commissioner; or (3) the urinalysis is conducted as part of an employee assistance program sponsored or authorized by the employer in which the employee voluntarily participates.

Employer Liability

If an employer violates these requirements, Connecticut law provides redress for the employee in the form of a civil action.  The law further allows the employee to bring a cause of action against the laboratory or medical facility that violates the employee’s rights or who aids in the violation by the employer.  Such damages that may be available to an employee include special and general damages, together with attorney’s fees and costs.

If you are an employee who has been subject to an inappropriate drug test by their employer or prospective employer, or if you are an employer who has questions regarding your ability to require a drug test for prospective or current employees, please call the experienced employment counsel at Harlow, Adams & Friedman, P.C. today at 203-878-0661 for a free consultation.

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