When you experience an injury at work, it can be a stressful and confusing time. In addition to dealing with physical pain and medical treatment, you might face various procedures required by your employer. One common concern for many employees is whether their employer can legally ask for a drug test following a workplace injury.
Are you legally required to submit to this drug test? Can this test impact your right to benefits? It’s important to understand your rights and obligations in these situations, as well as the legal implications.
In Minnesota, the law allows employers to request drug tests from employees who have suffered on-the-job injuries. However, this right is conditional. Employers must have a clear, written drug testing policy in place. This policy should outline when and how drug tests can be conducted. If an employer does ask for a drug test, it must be in accordance with this pre-established policy.
While Minnesota’s workers’ compensation law doesn’t mandate drug testing for the receipt of workers’ compensation benefits, employers may still require a test before disbursing these benefits. If you test positive, you have the right to explain the positive result. Furthermore, you have the opportunity to request a re-test within a specified timeframe.
Testing positive for drugs or alcohol does not automatically disqualify you from receiving workers’ compensation benefits in Minnesota. For an employer to deny benefits, they must prove that the substance use was the primary cause of the injury. This means showing that the employee was under the influence of a substance, and this directly resulted in the injury.
It is your employer’s responsibility to establish causation, which can be very challenging—especially if other hazardous conditions may have contributed to the injury. Therefore, even with a positive drug test, you may still be eligible for benefits.
The Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act (DATWA) sets specific guidelines for drug and alcohol testing in the workplace. According to DATWA, employers must:
Employers cannot immediately discipline or terminate an employee based on a single positive test result. Instead, the employer must offer the employee a chance to participate in a counseling or rehabilitation program. Discipline or termination can only occur under specific circumstances, such as refusal to participate in rehabilitation.
DATWA also protects employees from retaliation for asserting their rights under the act. If a drug test leads to wrongful denial of benefits or termination, the employee may have the right to pursue legal action against their employer.
If you’re facing a drug test after a workplace injury in Minnesota, it’s crucial to understand your legal rights and options. A Minneapolis workers’ compensation attorney in Minnesota can provide clarity in these situations, protecting your rights and fighting for your right to benefits. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident to start building your workers’ comp claim.