If your Alaska employer or prospective employer 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 many other states, Alaska has laws that allow drug testing in certain situations, as long as the employer follows the procedural rules.
Alaska employers may test job applicants for any job-related purpose, consistent with business necessity and the terms of the employer’s policy. An employer may decide not to hire an applicant who refuses to take a drug test.
Alaska employers are allowed, but not required, to drug test employees. As for applicants, testing is allowed for any job-related purpose consistent with business necessity, including:
In addition, employers may conduct random drug testing.
An employer that conducts drug testing must adopt and distribute a written drug test policy to all employees, and employees must have at least 30 days’ notice of the policy. The policy must provide specified information about the testing program, including the consequences of testing positive or refusing to submit to testing.
Alaska law also specified the procedures the employer must use for gathering specimens, testing, and maintaining confidentiality. An employee who tests positive must be given ten days in which to request an opportunity to explain the result; if the employee makes such a request, the employer must provide a confidential setting for the meeting and must hold the meeting within 72 hours after the employee’s request or before taking any adverse job action against the employee.
Have you been illegally asked or required to take a drug test? Even though Alaska law allows employer 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: