A proposed drug testing policy that would include all Warren County Commissioners has been rejected by the county attorney as contrary to law and to reason.
During a meeting of the full Warren County Commission, the idea of random drug testing all county employees and all county elected officials was presented.
County Executive Herschel Wells delivered the request to legal counsel for consideration. In a letter from attorney Robert Bratcher to Wells, Bratcher stated, “a policy of suspicionless drug testing of non-safety sensitive employees would be inadvisable from a legal perspective as such a policy is contrary to law and to reason.”
Bratcher pointed out drug testing cannot be forced upon an individual without a proper warrant or other court order.
“While drug tests are certainly common in today’s world, they are almost never compulsory in nature,” said Bratcher. “An employee who must take a drug test to obtain or keep a job has no legal obligation to submit to the test. It is important to remember that a drug test of any kind, whether it be urine, hair follicle, or otherwise, is considered generally by the courts as an invasive method for the collection of information. For this reason, a drug test cannot typically be forced upon an individual without a proper warrant or other court order.”
Similar drug testing policies have been deemed unconstitutional.
“Any policy requiring a blanket test of all employees of a governmental entity walks dangerously close to 4th Amendment unconstitutionality and would submit Warren County to potential lawsuits,” said Bratcher. “There are countless Supreme Court and 6th Circuit Court opinions addressing blanket requirements of drug testing and the courts have held these polices to be unconstitutional.”
Bratcher also pointed out Warren County has no authority to drug test any elected official within any governmental entity of the state and the county already has an alcohol and controlled substances policy for its employees.