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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 27088
Experience:  Employment Law Expert
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Hello, I recently started a new job for a company that conducts

Customer Question

Hello,

I recently started a new job for a company that conducts random drug tests. The company has offices all over the US, I report into a division that is located in Kansas. However, I am a remote, "field-based" employee working from my home office in Connecticut.

My understanding is that random drug testing is illegal in CT and within our company's substance abuse policy there is an addendum to it which states that "all CT based' employees will not be subject to random drug testing (I assume to comply with CT's laws). However I am not sure if this is applying ONLY to folks who work out of my company's Connecticut office (as stated, I work from home, not from that particular office), or if it would apply to me as well.

I feel like this is a murky situation and just curious what my rights are here. Thank you very much for any guidance you can provide!

Regards,
Chris
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

JD 1992 :

Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

JD 1992 :

I can understand your confusion on this topic because the law is not clear.

Customer :

Yes, I am not sure how to interpret it

JD 1992 :

However, the most likely result is that since you actually do your work in CT then the testing would not apply to you. If you were to physically go into the office in KS then you could be drug tested but since your actual work is performed in CT you wouldn't be subject to the drug testing while you are physically present in that state.

JD 1992 :

And, if you physically reported into the KS office and were tested then it wouldn't really be a random test.

Customer :

Very interesting and excellent points....I hope you are right because I feel this is a horrible invasion of privacy. However, is there any chance that since the division I report into it based out of Kansas, that they would be allowed to test me (since random drug testing is legal in Kansas), despite my work location being Connecticut?

JD 1992 :

It is extremely unlikely. The wording of their policy "all CT based" employees would make them unlikely to try and test you. To them it wouldn't be worth the hassle since they could be challenged and have to defend a lawsuit in CT and incur a bunch of expense for no reason.

JD 1992 :

You never know what a company is going to do but if they run it past any attorney they are going to tell them not to do it.

Customer :

I guess I'm just wondering in terms of the law itself - i.e. random drug testing being illegal in Connecticut. Does that apply to employers in CT instituting a substance abuse policy, or does it simply apply to any employee who physically does their work in CT? To me, that seems to be a big source of confusion.

JD 1992 :

The statute itself doesn't define it well so using the general rules of statutory construction it would include any employee within the state borders. The employer is required to have "reasonable suspicion" to test employees unless they are within certain fields where tests are federally mandated.

JD 1992 :

By actually performing your work in CT you would be subject to their laws as an employee and your employer has subjected themselves to these laws by allowing you to work there.

JD 1992 :

In legal thinking random drug testing is a fairly new concept and all of the cases haven't worked their way through the system yet but I'm fairly confident based on the way the courts have ruled on other issues across the US that CT laws would apply.

JD 1992 :

Unless you signed something stating that you would be bound by KS laws.

Customer :

No, definitely did not do that. I feel good about everything we discussed, I just wish it was a bit more clear cut.

JD 1992 :

It probably will be eventually but there are not going to be a lot of cases testing the waters because it is pretty clear if you're used to reading and interpreting legislation and statutes.

JD 1992 :

It certainly is confusing to the general public but any corporate counsel would look at it and say don't do it.

JD 1992 :

Employers tested the water on these kinds of issues a while back on non-compete agreements in CA and a few other issues and lost big (and at big expense) and so they aren't really in a hurry to do it again.

JD 1992 :

And this is one of those issues that both Conservative and Liberal politicians agree on for different reasons. Liberals don't like the invasion of privacy and conservatives like the "state's right" to set their policies.

Customer :

Are you familiar with any similar situations to mine, is there any precedent out there? It's amazing to me how little information I could find online with regards XXXXX XXXXX rights of remote employees and what "rules" we need to play by.

JD 1992 :

It varies by the state and there are lots of cases but I didn't see any in a quick search of CT. However, their courts are close in philosophy to CA and the CA courts have said employees working there are controlled by their laws. Again, that was in reference to non-compete agreements but conceptually it is the same.

Customer :

Makes sense. I guess I feel better about the whole situation now.

JD 1992 :

If you would like I can see if I can find you some cases when I get a break in the next couple of days. I would need you to go ahead and issue a Positive Rating (assuming you were satisfied) so the question doesn't time out and I can do some research when I have the time and see if I can get you a couple of specific cites. You would have to remember that with case law you have to read between the lines sometimes.

Customer :

I am very satisfied and you have been excellent. I would definitely appreciate it, if you could find me some additional cases for reassurance, or perhaps bounce this off one or two of your colleagues. Do you think when you have some down time you could do that for me?

JD 1992 :

Absolutely. I'll do some research later this week and let you know if I find anything interesting. Once you issue your positive rating the question will lock open and no longer time out plus you can come back to it whenever you want. It will also change formats so when I get the email that your rating was issued I'll post something quick in the thread and you'll get an email with a link back to the question. Just save that email and if you don't hear from me by Thursday come back to it and give me a bump and remind me. I'm usually pretyy good about remembering but it doesn't hurt to get reminded.

Customer :

Awesome! Thanks so much!

JD 1992 :

You're very welcome! I'll exit now to assist others and I'll send you that email when the rating comes through and the format changes.

JD 1992 :

Bye.

Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 27088
Experience: Employment Law Expert
Dwayne B. and 3 other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.
Thanks much for the rating and the bonus!

This will be your link back to the question. Talk to you later this week!
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you very much for the Positive Rating. Please come back and visit us if you have any new questions and feel free to ask for me by placing “FOR JD 1992” in the subject line or as the first words of your question and I will pick up as soon as I see it.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello! Any update on additional cases or feedback from others? Thanks so much!
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the reminder! I ran a search in CT and found absolutely nothing, I did a search in some other states and found a few cases not on point but that are at least a little informative but I am away from the computer I saved them on. I will get those to you when I return home.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, any luck with those articles? Also, would it be possible for you to bounce this scenario off some of your colleagues to get their opinion and to see I'd they've come across this before? I'm still feeling somewhat uneasy about the whole situation.

Thanks so much!
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 1 year ago.
I talked to a couple of my buddies and they agreed with my assessments.

As I said, there aren't any CT cases directly on point. However, CA has addressed similar issues and I think their reasoning is close to what the CT courts would rules.

I'm going to give you a couple of specific cases to look at. They deal with non-competes as opposed to drug testing but the reasoning is the same.

Look at the cases at these links:

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=12902275020386975222&q=non-compete+employee+foreign&hl=en&as_sdt=a004

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3244880414510515538&q=non-compete+employee+foreign&hl=en&as_sdt=a004

Their names are Application Group v. Hunter Group and Muggill v. Reuben H. Donnelly Corp.

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