Additional Information: I work for a company in Ashland, MA that has over 50 employees and was recently fired for failing a drug test. There were several of us that were randomly tested, but I was the only one fired. I know without a doubt that at least 2 of the others failed their test too. Isn’t this discrimination and what can I do?
The propriety of random drug testing of employees depends upon the type of work being performed. Under Massachusetts law, individuals have a protected privacy interest that prevents certain intrusions into their lives. Employers, conversely, have a strong interest in ensuring the safety of their workers and the public. State court have attempted to balance these competing interests when it comes to drug testing and, equally as important, the action an employer can take when a test is positive for drug use. Generally, employees whose jobs involve the use of machinery, cars and trucks, and other potentially dangerous equipment can be randomly tested. If you fit into this category or if your company has some other legitimate reason for the tests, it was probably permissible in your particular case.
Random tests should be conducted in accordance with carefully considered procedures that both ensure accurate results and protect employee privacy to the extent possible. Again, Massachusetts courts have required a balancing of privacy and business interests in this area. They’ve also held that, with random testing, summary termination of employees for a single failed test may be improper. In your case, this question clearly exists, as does a related one — why were you let go for failing the test when others were not? As to this latter point, a comparison between your co-workers and you may be in order to determine whether illegal discrimination occurred. If you were let go due to your gender, race, etc., discrimination may have occurred. To explore this issue as well as ones surrounding the propriety of the drug test in the first place, you should consult an employment attorney.
Ashland Employment Law Attorney Jack Merrill provides legal representation to employees, employers and businesses throughout the Boston metro west and Worcester County region including Ashland, Dedham, Framingham, Franklin, Hopkinton, Maynard, Marlborough, Milford, Natick, Needham, Newton, Shrewsbury, Sudbury, Waltham, and Worcester, Massachusetts.