Drug testing of employees is not specifically addressed in Oregon’s civil rights laws. This does not mean that the employers have carte blanche in conducting drug testing in all situations. It is legal for all employers to conduct drug tests, but it is mandatory for them to proceed with the testing carefully. It can easily infringe on the common laws of an employee, which is considered the privacy rights of the employee. For the public sector employees, it is constitutional.
The federal law puts in place a few limitations on any Oregon employer or even a prospective employer that asks an employee to undertake a drug test. Yes, the federal government may require the employer to have the drug testing done in a few safety-sensitive industrious environments. These include aviation, transportation, NASA contractors, and the Department of Defense. Still, it is not a requirement of federal law. Neither does it prohibit drug tests.
To a great degree, the local and state laws are the determinant factor as to whether an employer is obliged to undertake applicants and employees’ drug tests. Many states and countries today have laws that regulate or restrict the employers’ right to conduct and require drug testing. Oregon is not included on that list. There are no laws that address drug testing of employees in the private employment sector in Oregon.
Employers are, however, not regulated by Oregon in their right to conduct or require testing for alcohol. Applicants and employees may be tested by their employers for alcohol only if the employer has the consent of the employer or applicant. If not, then there must be a suspicion that is reasonable for the person who is under the influence of alcohol.
Legal Assertion to Drug Testing
Relying on other legal theories is the only option for employees and applicants who believe their drug test was illegal now that Oregon law does not restrict or prohibit the employer from having a drug test done in the workplace. For instance, employers can be in big legal trouble depending on the person who is tested or even how the drug testing experience was conducted. Below are some of the examples.
Applicants and employees who are on medication because of their disability are protected by the Americans with Disability Act (ACA). Some of the prescribed medications for people with disability can produce a positive outcome on a drug test. Some of the prescribed medications may contain drugs that are considered illegal. Opiates, for example, are legitimately prescribed for people with disabilities. Applicants or employees might have been turned down in regards to positive drug testing when their medication was legally prescribed. This can make the organization liable.
General Discrimination Claims
General discrimination occurs when an employee or applicant is singled out by the employer for drug testing in regards to his or her gender, race, or age.
Employee Invasion of Privacy
An employer having legitimate reasons for testing an applicant or employee should not violate the privacy of the employee in the way the test is conducted.
In case an employer publicizes false positive results of an employee’s drug test or the employer acts in bad faith after knowing that the results were incorrect, the employee can have a valid claim for defamation. For advice about your legal matter, contact HKM Employment Attorneys at 503-389-1130.