Last March, Florida Governor Rick Scott ordered random drug testing for 80,000 state employees. On Thursday, Miami Federal District Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled that the governor’s order was unconstitutional, citing lack of sufficient reasoning to execute the testing.
Judge Ungaro wrote that the governor’s order “does not identify a concrete danger to must be addressed by suspicionless drug-testing of state employees… And the governor shows no evidence of a drug use problem at the covered agencies.” However, Gov. Scott contended that, in fact, the testing is both reasonable and practical.
The governor’s office is currently facing another legal challenge in opposition to the governor’s order for mandatory drug testing of all Florida welfare applicants.
After Gov. Scott made the executive order last year, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and a local worker’s union filed a law suit challenging the order, arguing that the mandatory testing was illegal.
According to MN criminal defense attorney Stacy Kaye, the judge is right to require a compelling state interest before allowing this invasion of privacy.
“While employment-related drug tests are generally upheld by the courts, employees of private companies always have the option to leave their position if they fail or refuse to comply with drug tests without the possibility of facing criminal penalties. The proposed Florida law could have subjected state employees who either fail or refuse to submit to drug tests to criminal liability, which goes far beyond the possible consequences for employees of private agencies, and farther than the constitution allows, at least in the absence of a compelling state interest that justifies the invasion of privacy and bodily searches involved. Arguably this law would force people to provide evidence against themselves, and in addition, it criminalizes the using and being under the influence of drugs, which, while objectionable to many people, is in and of itself, not currently against the law (only sale or possession is).