If an employer or a prospective employer in Oklahoma has asked you to take a drug test, you’ll want to know your legal rights. Federal law places few limits on employer drug testing: Although the federal government requires testing by employers in a few safety-sensitive industries (including transportation, aviation, and contractors with NASA and the Department of Defense), federal law doesn’t otherwise require – or prohibit drug tests. For the most part, state and local laws determine whether a private employer may require drug testing.
Oklahoma allows employers to require applicants and employees to take drug tests, as long as the employer follows state procedures. Employers are not required to drug test.
Drug Testing for Oklahoma Applicants
Employers in Oklahoma may require applicants to take a drug test as a condition of employment.
Drug Testing for Oklahoma Employees
Oklahoma employers may require employees to take drug tests in the following circumstances:
- following a workplace accident causing injury or property damage
- at random
- as part of a routine fitness-for-duty exam, and
- as a follow-up to a rehabilitation program.
Employers may also test for cause, if they have a reasonable belief that the employee is under the influence of drugs at work (based on, for example, seeing the employee with drugs, an unexplained pattern of absences or tardiness, or employee behavior that suggests impairment).
Legal Claims Arising From Drug Testing
Even though Oklahoma law allows employers to drug test, employees and applicants may have legal claims based on how the test was conducted, who was tested, or how the results were used. Here are some examples:
- Violation of state laws and procedures. Although an employer has the legal right to test, it must follow the state’s requirements.
- Disability discrimination. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects an applicant or employee who is taking medication for a disability. Some prescribed medications turn up on drug tests, and some drugs that would otherwise be illegal (such as opiates) are legitimately prescribed for certain conditions. If an applicant is turned down because of a positive drug test, and the applicant's medication was legally prescribed for a disability, the company could be liable.
- Other discrimination claims. An employer who singles out certain groups of employees – for example, by race, age, or gender – for drug testing could face a discrimination claim.
- Invasion of privacy. Even an employer that is allowed or required to test might violate employee privacy in the way it conducts the test. For example, requiring employees to disrobe or provide a urine sample in front of others could be a privacy violation.
- Defamation. An employee might have a valid claim for defamation if the employer publicizes that the employee tested positive, the test result was false, and the employer knew or had reason to know of the error.