Can Drug Tests Impact Worker’s Compensation?
Workplace accidents and injuries happen all the time and often when we least expect it. In most instances, these are of caused by the negligence of the employer or a third party, and if this can be proven, the worker may then be entitled to worker’s compensation. However, in a small number of cases, the fault lies with the worker.
There can be many reasons why an employee may be at fault for their accident, including being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Drug and alcohol use can inhibit a person’s ability to perform his/her job correctly, and this increases the risk of injury either to themselves, or to those people they are working with.
Does my employer have a right to request a drugs test?
Most companies today maintain a drug-free workplace and details of this will normally be provided in your contract. This often includes clauses such as random drug testing to determine if drugs or alcohol are present in a worker’s body during the hours of employment. There is also often a clause that states the requirement for drug testing in the event of an accident or injury that could necessitate a worker’s compensation claim.
If your employer implements a drug-free program, this does not prevent them from testing you should an accident or injury arise. Instead, there are certain protocols that your employer will need to follow which are in line with the Florida drug testing statute. Similarly, an employer must have reason to suspect that the accident or injury occurred as a result of the employee being intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. This can include there being no other valid cause for the injury to have occurred.
What your employer is not allowed to do it to use drug testing to threaten or deter employees from filing an injury report.
What happens when a drug test is performed by an employer?
If your employer chooses to perform a drug test, this must be done in complete confidentiality as soon as possible after the accident/injury. Your employer should provide you with a copy of the company policy on drug use, information about the type of drugs that the test is designed to detect and information on what the likely outcome is going to be should your test come back positive. Your employer is also duty bound to provide you with the necessary information as to how you can contest the results of your drug test should you need to.
The impact of a positive drugs test on a worker’s compensation claim
Ultimately, if an employee refuses to submit to a drug test or agrees to a drug test which then shows as positive, the employer has grounds with which to deny a worker’s compensation claim. This would mean that the worker would not be entitled to any financial recompense for medical bills, loss of earnings or psychological trauma that they may have sustained as a result of the injury.
The lack of funds from worker’s compensation can be devastating for those workers who may have done nothing wrong, or who have received a false positive result, as can happen when someone is taking certain prescribed medications.
If you have been involved in a workplace accident and received drug testing that you believe didn’t comply with the Florida statute, and have been denied worker’s compensation as a result, or if you have received an incorrect positive test result, our experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can help you. We have the knowledgeable and familiarity needed to be able to pursue your claim and build a strong case in your favor. Please contact us today to arrange your no-obligation consultation at 305-442-7375.