Florida legislators pass bill to randomly drug test state employees

The Florida Senate recently approved HB 1205, which would allow state agency heads to randomly drug test state employees. The bill is the nation’s first and only law that allows random drug testing of state employees without a specific suspicion in individual cases or when an employee’s position is “safety sensitive” – like someone who handles heavy machinery.

According to the Miami Herald, state employees could be tested every three months under the law, but the random sample of employees to be tested must be “computer-generated by an independent third party”. That randomly chosen sample can’t be more than 10 percent of the agency's workforce.  In addition, the law would make it easier to dismiss an employee after a confirmed positive drug test.

Text of HB 1205, with sections pertaining to random drug testing highlighted:

  • Requires drug testing to be conducted within each state agency's appropriation;
  • authorizes agencies within state government to require employees to submit to periodic random drug testing;
  • revises provisions relating to discharging or disciplining certain employees;
  • authorizes agency to refer employee, at employee's expense, to employee assistance program or alcohol & drug rehabilitation program if not discharged;
  • requires employer to transfer employee to job assignment he or she can perform safely & effectively while participating in employee assistance program or alcohol & drug rehabilitation program or place employee on leave status if such position is unavailable;
  • authorizes employee to use accumulated leave credits before being placed on leave without pay;
  • provides that employer remains qualified for insurer rate plan that discounts rates for workers' compensation & employer's liability insurance policies if employer maintains drug-free workplace program that is broader in scope than that provided for by standards & procedures established in act;
  • authorizes public employer to conduct random drug tests of certain employees under specified conditions;
  • provides requirements for public sector employer assigning public sector employee to position other than mandatory-testing position.