Has your employer or prospective employer in Texas asked you to take a drug test? 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.
Although many states have passed laws regulating or restricting an employer's right to require drug testing, Texas has not.
Texas legislation does not address drug testing in private employment. This means that employers are free to require or ask employees and applicants to take a drug test, as long as they don't run afoul of other legal protections.
If your employer chooses to drug test, it should have a procedure in place regarding how it handles positive tests. Not all positive drug tests lead to termination. Your employer might instead refer individuals who test positive to a drug treatment program, and require a negative test before you can resume working.
Your employer's drug testing policy should be included in its employee handbook. If not, ask your company's human resources (HR) department for a copy.
While many employers are taking increasingly progressive approaches to positive drug tests—especially while the labor market is tight—others still choose to immediately terminate anyone who tests positive. That is generally the employer's right, as long as it conducted the test legally (see below).
Because Texas 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:
If you've been fired after a positive drug test in Texas, you might have a legal claim against your employer for discrimination, invasion of privacy, or another cause of action.
Contact an employment attorney right away to discuss your legal options. You can find one using our lawyer directory.