Employers “Reasonable Suspicion” of Drug Use


Prescription marijuana?  Pain medications? Antidepressant?  Do they take you off your game?  If your employer seems to think so, or even merely “suspects” that you are using legal and/or prescription drugs that are affecting your job performance, it now has become much easier for your employer to send you off for a drug test!  A new public act that has amended C.G.S. 31-51x, which went into effect as of October 1, 2016, no longer requires the Department of Labor to “specify circumstances which shall be presumed to give rise to an employer having reasonable suspicion” to drug test employees.  

The statute prior to this  changed went like this:

(a) No employer may require an employee to submit to a urinalysis drug test unless the employer has reasonable suspicion that the employee is under the influence of drugs or alcohol which adversely affects or could adversely affect such employee’s job performance. The Labor Commissioner shall adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54 to specify circumstances which shall be presumed to give rise to an employer having such a reasonable suspicion, provided nothing in such regulations shall preclude an employer from citing other circumstances as giving rise to such a reasonable suspicion.

Given that there are no regulations on what is considered appropriate circumstances for “reasonable suspicion”, the door has been left wide-open for your employer to consider your vertigo, your tardy arrivals, your missed time from work – the reasons are now endless – to be  classified as suspicious drug use.  

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