Can my boss suspend me for refusing adrug test?

My boss saw me buying beer during my break; I was off the clock and so was he. I never drank it but was saving it for later. When I went back to work after my break he demanded I take a drug test, which I refused. He then proceeded to tell me that I had to be suspended.

Asked on October 24, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Federal, state and private employees are subject to drug testing (this even includes the President himself). It has been ruled that while drug testing does infringe on an employee's right to privacy, it can be necessary in order to protect the health and safety of others. While specific state laws vary, most private employers are allowed to require that their employees undergo drug testing not only for for safety or health reasons, but as well as to increase productivity and to prevent illegal activities in the workplace related to drug-related activity.

If an employees fails to take a legal drug test, then they may be terminated. The fact is that in an at will employment setting, an employer can fire an employee for any or no reason at all, with or without notice.

Therefore, without an employment/union agreement to the contrary or any actionable form discrimination being a factor in your treatment, if you employer's company policy mandates that you be drug tested you can be discharged for refusing to do so.

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