O’Malley and Madden Weekly

Topic of the Week  Drug Testing in the Workplace

Many employers require their employees to submit to drug testing both before and after being hired. Most of the time, after being hired, an employer requires reasonable suspicion before having an employee take a drug test. Even with the recent legalization of marijuana in some states, employees can still be punished for testing positive. The punishments for a failed drug test can include rehabilitation, termination and losing unemployment benefits.Q: Can I be fired for taking prescription medication under doctor's orders if it shows up on a drug test?
A: You may be protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and an employer cannot discriminate based on disability. However, if over time the disability no longer exists, the medication interferes with your ability to perform essential job functions or you are taking the medication illegally, then you can be fired. Learn more here.

Q: Can I refuse to take a drug test?
 You can always refuse a drug test. However, as an applicant, you may not be hired as a result of not taking the drug test. As an employee, if you are fired because of your refusal to take the test, you may have little recourse. In fact, in some states, you might be denied unemployment benefits if you are fired for refusing to take a drug test.

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Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

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