Connecticut’s drug testing statutes applicable to employers have always been a bit tricky to follow. I covered the basics of these laws back in 2010 (you’ve been reading that long, right?).
For job applicants, employers must follow certain rules. Once an applicant becomes an employee, a new set of more stringent rules apply.
But to what?
In a case earlier this year, a Connecticut Superior Court had to address that issue and more. In the case (Schofield v. Loureiro Engineering Associates), the plaintiff was forced to undergo drug testing of his hair by his employer, two weeks after starting. He was fired as a result of the test.
The employee claimed that the restrictive drug testing rules of Connecticut law should apply. However, the Superior Court said otherwise. It found that the rules regulate urine-based drug testing only, not any OTHER form of drug testing.
[The drug testing statutes in question apply only to urinalysis testing and do not cover an employee who is subjected to other forms of drug testing. . . . While the logic of plaintiff’s position is readily understood and the seemingly irrational inconsistency which flows from the disparate protections made evident in this opinion are undeniable, “the task of changing the law lies with the legislature and not with the judiciary.”
So, does this mean that employers are free to engage in all sorts of drug testing? Well, perhaps not. While disallowing any claim under the state’s drug testing laws, the Court did allow a “wrongful discharge” claim to proceed.
Thus, what the court giveth, it also taketh away.
For employers, drug testing of current employees in particular is fraught with challenges. Be sure your program meets all legal requirements (both state and federal) and use this case as a warning sign. Things aren’t always what they seem.