I recently received the following inquiry from a potential client via the Internet:
“I had an accident at work and broke my hand. I went to the doctor the same day and was treated for it. While I was there I never gave a urine or blood sample. The next day my boss asked if I would take a random test and I declined because they can’t prove I was under the influence at the time of the accident, not saying I was. So was that the right or wrong thing to do?”
Before responding to this worker’s situation, I would ask questions that included the following thoughts, depending on where the worker was within the workers’ compensation and employment process:
- Where was the worker from, as laws vary from place to place?
- Who is/was the worker’s employer?
- What was the worker doing when injured?
- What is the employer’s policy on random drug testing?
- Is the worker still employed at the company?
- Is the worker receiving workers’ compensation benefits?
Knowing those specifics would help tailor my response to the circumstances, but generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to disobey a supervisor’s request. However, depending on the circumstances here, this worker might have done the right thing in refusing the test.
But generally, not following employer’s rules is not a good thing for an employee. This worker may have made a mistake if random drug testing is a regular part of employment at the company.
The National Employment Lawyers’ Association (NELA), of which I am a member, includes many experts in employee rights. They are a good resource of attorneys who also work as advocates for employees. The national network also ensures that I can refer clients to others who know about employment law with confidence, just as I receive referrals from colleagues in the NELA. State laws and individual situations vary, so if you have specific questions about your circumstances, our office can help you make sure you speak with an attorney who is familiar with your area and can best assist under the circumstances.