Legal Question in Discrimination Law in California

Mandatory drug testing

A student in a doctoral program (where he/she provides patient care) is failing due to problems related to the spouses drug abuse. Administrators suspect the student has also been involved in substance abuse. As a condition of allowing the student to remain and attempt to remediate, the administrators would like to require regular drug testing. Currently the student agrees to this, but could potentially retract voluntary compliance. Does this requirement violate the student's rights if he/she decides to decline testing in the future and is dismissed based on that refusal of testing?

Asked on 1/22/01, 12:11 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael Kirschbaum Law Offices of Michael R. Kirschbaum

Re: Mandatory drug testing

While individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy, which may include freedom from having to subject to drug testing, an employer's compelling reasons for the drug testing may outweigh that privacy right. This is particularly true where the employee's job involves the health or safety of others. It would seem very reasonable that persons responsible for patient care could be required to submit to drug testing. This is even more so, given the employer's reasonable concerns and the fact that the employee has already agreed to be tested. That expectation of privacy would no longer exist, if it ever did at all.

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Answered on 2/15/01, 12:08 pm

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