Florida - Drug Testing
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Florida State Law for Alcohol and Drug Testing
Florida has a Drug-Free Workplace Act that sets forth certain procedures for employers to follow in conducing job applicant testing, reasonable suspicion testing, follow-up testing, and routine fitness-for-duty testing. An employer is not required by law to follow these procedures. But an employer that adopts policies that comply with the Drug-Free Workplace Act may receive a discount on workers’ compensation premiums, and may be able to deny workers’ compensation benefits to any employee that refuses to submit to drug or alcohol testing, or tests positive for drugs or alcohol following a workers’ compensation-related injury in the workplace.
Drug and alcohol testing may have implications under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Disability-related inquiries and medical examinations of employees must be “job-related and consistent with business necessity.” A blood, urine or breath analysis to test for alcohol use would have to meet this standard because alcoholism is a disability under the ADA. But a test to detect the current illegal use of drugs would not have to meet this standard because illegal drug use is not protected under the ADA.
Why have a DRUG FREE WORKPLACE policy?
Section 112.0455, F.S. does not require agencies to have a DFW policy. However, it requires that employers give employees a 60 day notice prior to drug testing if they do not have a policy. This precludes reasonable suspicion testing.
- One of the targets of the Florida 1999 Drug Control Strategy is to reduce drug abuse in the workplace 50% by 2005. This is one of the Governor’s priorities.
- The Governor’s Code of Ethics issued January 22, 1999 states that all Secretaries and Deputy Secretaries of executive agencies under the purview of the Governor will receive pre-employment drug tests. Thus, Governor’s agencies must have a policy to do this type of testing.
- Sharon Larson’s 7/1/99 memo to all Agency Heads and Personnel Officers stated that, “It is imperative that all agencies have a policy in place to cover workplace drug and alcohol use or influence, and address detection and interdiction programs in accordance with the intent of the Drug-Free Workplace Act.”
An Employer is required to conduct the following types of Drug Tests under the Florida Workers’ Compensation Drug-Free Workplace Program:
- Job Applicant Testing - All final candidates for jobs (persons to whom you have offered employment) must be tested, although they may begin work pending the results of the drug test. Limited testing of applicants, based on a reasonable job classification basis, is permissible.
- Reasonable Suspicion Testing - Drug tests must be conducted following any observed behavior creating “reasonable suspicion.” These behaviors must be clearly defined in the policy. Some examples of reasonable suspicion include:
- Direct observation of drug/alcohol use, or the symptoms of being under the influence of a drug or alcohol.
- Abnormal behavior while at work or a significant deterioration in work performance. Be certain that these behaviors are properly documented to avoid any misunderstandings that may arise if this situation is contested by the employee.
- A report of drug use, provided by a reliable and credible source should lead to further investigation and documentation.
- Evidence that an individual has tampered with a drug test while working for you.
- Information that an employee has caused, contributed to, or been involved in, an accident while at work.
- Evidence that an employee has used, possessed, sold, or solicited drugs while working or while on the employer’s premises or while operating the employer’s vehicle, machinery or equipment. If the testing is conducted on a “reasonable suspicion” basis, the employer must promptly record the circumstances which formed the basis of the determination that reasonable suspicion existed to warrant the testing. A copy of this documentation must be provided to the employee on request, and the original documentation must be kept confidential by the employer.
- Follow-up Testing - If an employer requires an employee to enter an employee assistance program, or a drug rehabilitation program, as a condition of continued employment after a confirmed, positive drug test, the employer must require the employee to submit to a random drug test, at least once per year for a two year period after completion of the program. Advance notice of the testing date must not be given to the employee being tested. If the employee voluntarily enters the program, the employer has the option to not require follow-up testing.
- Routine Fitness-For-Duty Testing - If you ordinarily require annual physical fitness for duty examinations, these examinations must include drug testing.
- An employer may conduct “random testing” or any other legal types of testing of their employees.
Rules for Florida Job Seekers
Florida employers who have a drug-free workplace program are required to drug test applicants who have received a conditional offer of employment. If an employer requires applicants to take a test, it must include a notice in its job announcements or ads regarding the testing requirement.
Basic Rights for Employees
An employer that conducts drug testing must give its policy to employees in writing, and employees must have at least a 60 day notice of the policy. Employees who test positive have five days to contest. An employer may not take any adverse personnel action on the basis of an initial positive result that has not been verified by a confirmation test and a medical review officer. State laws also require employers to use certain procedures for gathering specimens, testing, maintaining confidentiality, and so on.
Employees who voluntarily seek treatment for substance abuse cannot be fired, disciplined, or discriminated against unless they have tested positive or been in treatment in the past.
An employer that implements a Drug-Free Workplace Program, and becomes a carrier certified drug-free workplace may be protected from workplace accidents that are a result of employees working under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Studies have shown a well-planned program to reduce substance abuse can increase productivity, reduce accidents, and decrease costs due to insurance claims. An employer implementing this program will receive additional benefits:
- All employees will become more aware of the importance of safety in the workplace and will benefit from a safer work environment.
- When an employee incurs a work-related injury, and refuses to take a drug test when requested, the injured employee may forfeit eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits, regardless of the cause of the accident.
- An employee who loses a job or is denied employment as a result of a positive drug/alcohol test, may not qualify for unemployment compensation benefits. In that case, the contributory employer could be relieved of charges in connection with the unemployment claim.
- lf drugs are found in the employee’s system at or above threshold levels, the injured employee may not be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This benefit is provided to employers who are carrier certified and in compliance with the program. If the employer is not carrier certified as a drug-free workplace, and the injured employee is able to show that the cause of the accident was not related to the presence of drugs in his/her system (i.e., if a heavy piece of equipment falls on the worker through no fault of his or her own), he or she may still be entitled to benefits.
- lf you implement a drug-free workplace program and become carrier certified, you are eligible for a 5 percent credit on your workers’ compensation insurance premium.
USA Mobile Drug Testing Locations
- Jacksonville, Florida
- Okeechobee County, Florida
- Miami, Florida
- South Miami-Hialeah, Florida
- Palm Beach County, Florida
- SW Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
- Tampa, Florida
- The Treasure Coast, Florida
- West Central Florida
If you don’t see your area Call 800-851-2021 to schedule your test today!