Court Overturns Drug Testing for State Workers

For the second time this year, Gov. Rick Scott has been told by a court that the state cannot order random drug testing.

First it was for welfare recipients. And Thursday a federal judge in Miami said random drug testing of state employees is unconstitutional.

After 22 years of working for the state, Paul Brewer felt insulted when Scott issued an executive order that required random drug tests for state workers.

“I found it appalling that they would be asking little old ladies to have to pee in a cup," he said. "I didn’t like the idea at all. I thought it was wrong.”

A federal judge in Miami found the tests unconstitutional, ruling that employees have a “reasonable expectation of privacy,” and that the plan “does not identify a concrete danger that must be addressed by suspicionless drug-testing.”

Shalini Goel Agarwal of the ACLU, which brought the suit, claimed victory.

“Her decision will protect the basic dignity and privacy rights of tens of thousands of state employees who otherwise would have been drug tested for no reason whatsoever,” she said.

Jenette Wynn, president of the union representing state employees, AFSCME Local 79, said the drug testing money could have been better spent on pay raises.

“It demeans state workers and state workers have gone through so much," she said. "No raises.”

The ruling covers only an executive order Scott issued last year. In a statement, Scott defended the testing and promised an appeal.

The judicial finding does not cover drug testing of new hires. A law that takes effect July 1 required testing for all new hires.

The governor had suspended new employee testing until there was a final ruling on the executive order.


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