Drug Testing and Workers Compensation: Protecting Your Rights After a Positive Test

In Orlando, Florida, employees getting a positive result on drug testing will face severe repercussions at work. This will also have a negative impact on an employee’s workers compensation claim. This blog aims to provide a detailed understanding of the legal aspects of this topic, and how an Orlando, Florida workers comp lawyer can help.

Drug Testing in the Workplace

Employers who adopt a drug-free policy will be eligible for workers compensation discounts. Under Florida Statute 440.12 employers who have such a policy in place will qualify for special workers compensation premiums subject to following state guidelines and rules.

These rules will include a workplace program where employees are subject to drug tests under certain circumstances. This will include instances where employees are under a reasonable suspicion of drug use or scheduled fitness examinations for employees whose duties require such examinations.

Employees who were previously found guilty of a drug offence and who subsequently completed rehabilitation will also be subject to these tests.

Rights of Employees Regarding Drug Tests

In Florida, employees have several rights regarding drug testing in the workplace.

Notice and Procedural Rights

An employer who adopts a drug-free policy must provide this policy to their employees in writing. Employees have the right to a 60-day notice period before the employer may adopt such a policy. This will ensure that employees are fully aware of, and understand the implications of such a policy.

Contesting Positive Drug Results

If you have tested positive for drug use while on the job, you will have five days to contest the positive result. This will allow you enough time to challenge the accuracy of the test or to provide a valid reason for a positive result. A valid reason may include prescribed medication.

Protection for Voluntary Rehabilitation

If you are actively involved in a drug rehabilitation program or are currently seeking medical treatment for drug and substance abuse, you may not be dismissed following a positive result. This rule will however not apply to employees who have previously been under rehabilitation or were previously found guilty of a drug related offence.

a positive drug test will lead to a denied workers comp claim

Medical Marijuana Patients

Florida signed Amendment 2 in 2016, allowing for medical adult marijuana use and creating a legal issue among medical marijuana patients and worker drug testing laws. Despite this, workplaces that actively engage in the Program can still drug screen a medical marijuana patient. Positive test findings may still lead to consequences if they contravene work policy.

Random Drug Testing

According to Chapter 440 Section 102(7)(g) of Florida’s Workers Compensation laws, employers may partake in random drug checks on employees. Employers must however conduct these tests with an unbiased selection procedure, and tests must be conducted by a trained collector who ensures a continuous chain of custody of the specimen and ensures employee confidentiality.

Employee Confidentiality

Chapter 440 Section 102 also requires employers to use certain procedures for gathering specimens, testing and maintaining employee confidentiality. All drug test results and reports are confidential and may not be used as evidence during court proceedings, or disclosed in any manner, except without the written consent of the employee, a court or judge. Drug tests are also inadmissible as evidence in criminal court proceedings.

Workers Compensation and Drug Testing

Any drug-free Florida workplace is required to test you for drugs when you intend to seek workers comp benefits, and even employers who don’t have the policy are permitted to test you. Your workers comp claim will most likely be denied if you are found to have drugs, alcohol or other non-prescription stimulants in your system after the injury, subject to your employer’s policy.

Under Florida law, employers and their workers compensation insurance companies have the right to stop benefits in the case of a positive drug test result. If the employee is truly abusing drugs while on workers compensation, they may be abusing the system and the law allows workers comp benefits to be suspended.

Contact an Orlando Workers Comp Lawyer Right Away

The laws surrounding drug testing and workers compensation in Florida are complex and multifaceted. It is crucial for employees to understand their rights and responsibilities under these laws. If you have tested positive on a drug test and are facing issues with your workers compensation claim, seek legal counsel from an Orlando workers comp attorney with Work Injury Rights.

Contact us at 954-324-COMP for a free consultation.