If your employer or prospective employer in Wyoming 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 an employer may test employees and applicants for drugs.
No Drug Testing Statute in Wyoming
Although many states have passed laws regulating or restricting an employer’s right to require drug testing, Wyoming is not one of them. No Wisconsin statute addresses drug testing in private employment.
Wyoming courts have decided a few drug testing cases in the employment context. For example, the court has held that an employee may not collect unemployment benefits for quitting a job rather than submitting to a drug test, if the employee knew, on being hired, that drug testing was required of applicants. In another Wyoming case, a court held that an employee was entitled to unemployment benefits after quitting rather than submitting to a drug test, because the employer had no drug testing policy in place. These cases make clear that an employer should not require drug testing absent a written policy putting employees and applicants on notice. However, they don’t describe the circumstances in which an employer who has such a policy may or may not test.
Legal Claims for Drug Testing
Because Wyoming doesn’t restrict or prohibit workplace drug testing, employees who believe their test was illegal will have to rely on other legal theories. For example, an employer may run into legal trouble based on who is tested or how the test is conducted. Here are some examples:
- Disability discrimination. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ACA) protects an applicant or employee who is taking medication for a disability. Some prescribed medications can result in a positive result on a drug test, 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 has a legitimate reason 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, depending on the circumstances.
- Defamation. An employee might have a valid claim for defamation if the employer publicizes a false positive result, if the employer acts maliciously.