Learn About Louisiana Drug Testing Laws

Employers are requiring employees to take a drug test as condition of employment

Louisiana employers may require new, or existing employees, and/or applicants to take drug test.

Maybe your Louisiana employer, or potential employer, asked you to take a drug test?
The fact is that today, more and more employers are requiring employees to take a drug test as condition of employment. Let’s be clear, even though employers have a right to make the request, Federal Law does impose some limitations and standards on employer drug testing.

The federal government in its function as an employer requires testing by employees in specific industries that are either sensitive or safety related. For example transportation and aviation as well as contractors with NASA and the Department of Defense. Federal law doesn’t otherwise require – or prohibit drug tests. It is mostly left to state and local law to regulate whether an employer may test employees and applicants for the use of drugs.

Louisiana Rules Concerning Drug Testing Of Job Applicants
The State of Louisiana law permits employers to require applicants to take a drug test as a condition of employment, but the employer must use certified and licensed laboratories to conduct these tests. These laboratories are required to follow specified procedures for testing particularly if the decision whether to hire, or not, will be based on the result of the test.

Louisiana Rules for Employee For Drug Testing
If based on the results of a drug test that is positive, an employer will follow a course of action against the employee which may result in termination, or discipline of the employee, then that employer must use certified laboratories and specified procedures for testing.

An employee who has received a confirmed positive drug test result may request all records relating to the test within seven (7) working days. An employer may offer the employee that tested positive the opportunity to submit to rehabilitation program rather than face employment termination; this is discretionary and not required of employers.

Louisiana Rules Concerning Legal Claims for Drug Testing
In Louisiana, employers must use certified laboratories for employee drug testing and follow required procedures if they will use a positive test result as the basis for discipline or termination of an employee. Any employer who does not follow regulations in place concerning this matter could face legal entanglements.

Possible legal issues that an employer could face due to drug testing include:

  • Disability Discrimination. Any applicant or employee who is taking medication for a disability is protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Further, some prescription medications do show up in drug tests. In fact, drugs that would be considered illegal under normal circumstances and would otherwise be illegal ( like an opiate) are legitimately prescribed for certain medical needs. If an employee, or an applicant, is turned down because of a positive drug test, and the employee or applicant can show that the medication was legally prescribed for a disability, the company could be held liable; except if the case of medical marijuana.
  • Defamation. An employee might have grounds for a defamation claim if the employer publicizes a result which is in fact a false positive result or if the employer acts in bad faith, or knew, or should have known, that the result was incorrect.
  • Invasion of privacy. Even in instances when an employer has a legitimate reason to test an employee for drugs, the employers might violate employee privacy in the way that test is performed. For example, if the employer requires that an employee undress, or provide a urine sample in front of others, this could be considered a violation of privacy violation, depending on the circumstances.
  • Other Discrimination Claims. Any employer who singles out specific groups of employees, or applicants, due to race, age, or gender for drug testing may face a discrimination claim.

Getting Timely Legal Help Is Important
Attorney Martin E. Regan Jr. has, for the last 36 years, worked to protect the rights of employers and employees faced with drug related matters. For more information regarding drug testing laws in the workplace in Louisiana applicable to your specific case, consult Regan Law right away. We are here to help.

Remember, the information we are providing here is not intended as legal advice; each case is different. Instead, we seek to provide you with a general idea of what happens in the often complicated legal process.