Must an employment drug screen test be announced in advance?

My employer never had a drug policy nor a pre-employment drug test. I was there for a year and they had a sudden such test. Mine came back invalid and I was fired. Is this legal?

Asked on March 23, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, West Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

1) No, it does not need to be announced in advance. As long as it was  not applied on a discriminatory basis (i.e. no discrimination against a protected category or classification, such as against a racial group, in who was tested), the test should be valid. If everyone was tested  (or is being tested), or the test is on random basis, or it's aimed at those who did something which creates a concern about drug use (e.g. were involved in a car accident), the testing should pass muster.

2) If you are an employee at will--which means if you do not have an employment contract protecting your employment--you may be fired at any time, for any reason, so almost any firing of you is most likely legal.

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