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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 19067
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I need to know how to file a grievance against my former

Customer Question

I need to know how to file a grievance against my former employer of 16 years for wrongful termination due to a "failed" drug test obtained while I was off of the clock.
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: TN
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: I' believe TN is an at will state.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: But can they lawfully require ne to submit to a a random drug screen while off of the clock
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 7 months ago.

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.

In employment law, in an "at will" employment situation, the employer can legally terminate your employment at any time, with or without cause. The employer doesn't need a legally valid reason, so the employer could have terminated you without the failed drug test and that would not have been "wrongful termination."

An employer can request a random drug test whenever they wish. You can certainly refuse, based on your not being on the clock, but then they could just have terminated you "at will."

Submitting to the drug test and failing it gave them a basis for termination, but they didn't legally need that basis, so on these facts you really have no argument of wrongful termination.

If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a three, a four or preferably a five star rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Please rate me based on my service and not on your satisfaction with the law, which I am not in control of and I am just reporting to you. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.

Well obviously having been employed there for so long with an excellent employment record, I am a little more concerned about how the failed drug screen will affect my career in the future. Although my state is an at will state, I feel and do believe they obtained the results outside of what the state random drug screen policy requnrest so they can obtain their discount on workman's comp insurance they are required to follow the state's guidelines in obtaining these tests.

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 7 months ago.

That wasn't really clear from your question, which focused more on filing a grievance against the prior employer.

They can't reveal the result of your drug test specifically, as that would be a violation of HIPAA laws. They can state that you were terminated and terminated for a failed drug test, though most employers won't even go that far.

You can report the employer to their worker's compensation carrier to establish that they violated the state's guidelines, but that would just effect the WC premiums paid by the employer. It wouldn't legally invalidate the test result in any meaningful way (meaning, it will not establish a cause of action by you against the employer).

Customer: replied 7 months ago.

It was not an illegal substance. They asked me to come by for one thing and said oh by the way wine you're here we're doing a random drug screen on you. I had spoken with my immediate supervisor prior to going in for a mask fitting and told her I had dental surgery the day before and I would come by even though my face was still swollen. I work on a PRN basis, I had not been on duty in over a month and was not on the clock, I was literally in the middle of writing all of my medications down when the nurse said don't worry about that if there's something there they will find it. Are employers that find a substance required to offer employee assistance for rehab based on the guidelines?

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 7 months ago.

No, they are not required to do so prior to termination.

They can choose to do so, but that is a matter of premium reduction, not a requirement before termination for a failed drug test.

Again, we are talking about an "at will" employment situation and only one state has passed any law that limits the ability of an employer to terminate under that concept (Montana).