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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  • by Frank Ellis Location: Panama City on Apr 28, 2012 at 08:09 AM
    If testing state workers is so dad-gum important, why did the legislators make themselves and members of Rick Scott's cabinet exempt from the drug testing? If they have nothing to hide, why can't they do what they are asking others to do? The top-level decisions some of them are making should be made in a drug free environment, don't you think? Instead, they insist that the janitor or the secretary be tested. Such hypocrisy and nobody is outraged? We're Republicans, we're in charge, and we do what we want, regardless of how it is perceived.
  • by beach guy on Apr 27, 2012 at 03:29 PM
    The whole thing is a joke, go and try to get the ACLU to stand up for someone who isnt in a state union,they wont regarding on the job drug testing. Personally Im sorry I voted for Scott and wont next time around, like another poster said there are state employee laws, and then there are the laws the rest of have to live by.
    • reply
      by DaveV on Apr 30, 2012 at 05:06 AM in reply to beach guy
      It's not just state employees, remember, federal employees also have another set of laws to go by. The new American Way is that if you make the laws you don't have to follow the laws.
  • by Bay Vet Location: Bay on Apr 27, 2012 at 05:52 AM
    Just Wow...You didn't know? Rick carries two pocket size constitutions, one for you and I, and one for him. Both very different of course. His favorite part of his constitution handbook is the 5th Amendment, which he uses quite often lol...Rumor has it, he FIRED some of his "trusted" advisors over these latest court decisions/fiascos...
  • by Charles on Apr 26, 2012 at 09:28 PM
    How about making ALL state employees reapply for their jobs?If they would like to continue to keep their jobs they will have to comply with new policies and procedures,like drug testing and paying some of their own retirement.If they don't like that maybe they should learn how to say "Welcome to Wal-Mart".
  • by James Location: Panama city on Apr 26, 2012 at 04:48 PM
    why is it unconstitutional for ramdom drug testing i have to be random drug tested to work so why is state workers not required to
  • by Dave Location: pcb on Apr 26, 2012 at 02:25 PM
    Rater than pointing out problems with government , Tricky Ricky has pointed to vast problems with corporate managers. They have been able to treat their employees any way they wanted, even to the point of abuse and the government has been on the sideline. Government is not a FOR PROFIT organiztion and should be protectors of the working man, not the servants of business.
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