Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

Minnesota has one of the strictest workplace drug and alcohol testing statutes in the country. Although Minnesota law does not require employers to test employees for drugs and alcohol, for employers who choose to test, they must comply with the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act (“DATWA”).

DATWA limits employers as to who they can require take a drug or alcohol test, when they can administer a test, how the test is administered, and what they can do with results of an alcohol or drug test. Further, DATWA limits the types of employees that can be subject to a drug and alcohol test, and severely limits an employer’s ability to discipline or discharge employees in connection with a drug or alcohol test.

Does my employer need to tell me if it conducts drug and alcohol testing?

Yes. Minnesota employers that choose to test for drugs and alcohol must provide employees with a written notice of the employers’ drug and alcohol testing policies and the employees’ rights regarding testing. This notice must comply with DATWA’s strict notice requirements and be provided to all affected employees, as well as job applicants, when the job offer is contingent on passing a drug or alcohol test. Employers must post the notice in a conspicuous place, and, before testing, they must provide employees with a form acknowledging they have seen the drug and alcohol testing policy.

Who can be drug and alcohol tested at work?

DATWA prohibits drug and alcohol testing on an arbitrary basis and limits testing to only a few employment scenarios:

  • Job Applicants, only after making a conditional job offer.
  • Routine Physical Examination, but no more than once per year.
  • Random Testing, but only if the employee is in a safety-sensitive position or a professional athlete.
  • Under Reasonable Suspicion, for using at work, violating a usage policy, or causing personal injury or other work-related accident.
  • Undergoing Chemical Dependency Treatment, if the employer referred the employee to treatment or evaluation or the employee is participating in a treatment program under an employee benefit plan.

Certain employees and job applicants are excluded from the protections of DATWA, because of federal laws that preempt DATWA. This can include commercial drivers, railroad workers, transit workers, pipeline workers, commercial vessel workers, nuclear power plant workers, energy department workers, and defense contractor workers.

What happens if I test positive for drugs or alcohol?

Once a test has been administered, employers have three working days to inform applicants/employees of the test result. If the urine test is positive, employers may not discharge or discipline a current employee without first verifying it with a confirmatory test. Even if a confirmatory test is positive, employers may not discharge or discipline employees for whom the positive test was the first such result without giving the employee an opportunity to participate in a rehabilitation program.

Employers may discipline or discharge current employees if the employee refuses to participate in a counseling or rehabilitation program or fails to successfully complete the program. However, employers may not retaliate against employees for asserting rights and remedies provided by DATWA.

Contact Our Minnesota Employment Lawyers
Baillon Thome Jozwiak & Wanta LLP is dedicated to protecting the rights of employees throughout Minnesota. If you believe your drug and alcohol testing rights have been violated, our attorneys want to hear from you. Contact us at 612-252-3570 or click here for a free initial consultation.