What laws govern substance abuse and alcohol abuse and the ability to conduct alcohol and drug testing? "In California, it's really surprising that there's not a specific statute – in either our labor code, or under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, or anywhere – that specifically provides the step-by-step: what can you do, what can't you do," Marc Jacuzzi explained in a CER webinar. Rather, what you can and cannot do is gathered from various state and federal laws and court cases that have provided guidance. That leaves us with a lot of gray areas in respect to alcohol and drug testing in California. (CER webinar titled "Drug and Alcohol Testing in California: Effective Strategies That Protect Your Company and Your Employees,")
Drug testing of private sector employees and applicants in California implicates the right of privacy set forth in the California Constitution. The courts have tried to balance the privacy rights of individual employees and applicants against the employer's legitimate safety concerns. Through a series of decisions addressing various types of drug testing, the California appellate courts have provided a framework for employers in this area. Here are some of the key decisions you should know about:
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Marc L. Jacuzzi, Esq., is a shareholder in the law firm of Simpson, Garrity, Innes & Jacuzzi (www.sgilaw.com). He advises clients regarding all aspects of the employer/employee relationship including hiring and termination, wage and hour requirements, employee classification, civil rights and discrimination issues, employee investigations, commission plans, employment contracts, employee handbooks and policies, confidential information agreements, reductions in force, leaves of absence, employment audits, M&A employment issues, violence in the workplace, and international employment issues.