If your employer or prospective employer in Idaho 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, this area is regulated by state and local laws.
Like a number of other states, Idaho has a drug-free workplace program regulating drug testing. Employers who establish such a program can qualify for a discount on their workers’ compensation insurance premiums. However, employers must follow the state’s rules to get their discount. In Idaho, employers may test in certain circumstances, and must observe certain procedures intended to protect employee and applicant rights.
Idaho employers are allowed to drug test applicants as a condition of employment. The employer must have a written drug testing policy that is available for applicants to review.
An applicant who doesn’t accept an otherwise suitable job because the employer requires drug testing may lose eligibility for unemployment benefits. In this situation, the applicant could be deemed unwilling to accept suitable work, and therefore not fully available and searching for a new job.
Idaho employers may test employees in a variety of circumstances, including:
An employee who is fired for refusing to submit to a test, testing positive for drugs, altering a test sample, or submitting a test sample belonging to someone else may not be eligible for unemployment benefits.
An employer must have a written drug testing policy that details the types of testing employees may be subject to and states that violation of the policy may resulting in termination due to misconduct.
An employee or applicant who tests positive may request a retest within seven working days. The employer may not take action based on an initial positive result that has not been verified by a confirmation test.
Procedures for gathering specimens, conducting the test, confidentiality, and so on are specified by state law.
Even though Idaho 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: