Can A Drug-Free Workplace Requirement Affect My Claim?
What is a drug-free workplace in Florida, and can it affect your workers’ compensation claim? And if you are on painkillers after suffering a workplace injury, can your employer deny liability if you get hurt again if you are working at a designated drug-free workplace? Our experienced South Florida workers’ compensation attorneys will explain how Florida drug-free workplaces work, and how a drug-free workplace might affect your workers’ compensation claim. No matter what, you should always seek advice from a workers’ compensation lawyer in South Florida who can help you to seek financial compensation and coverage associated with your workplace injuries.
What is a Drug-Free Workplace in Florida?
A Florida drug-free workplace is a workplace that has become part of the state’s drug-free workplace program. The program is designed to regulate drug testing on the job and to reduce the rate of injuries at the workplace resulting from intoxication. When an employer becomes part of Florida’s drug-free workplace program, the employer can be eligible to receive a discount on workers’ compensation insurance costs. Yet in order to obtain the discount, the employer must comply with Florida drug-testing requirements.
In general, job applicants and employees at drug-free workplaces should anticipate a drug test upon receiving a conditional offer of employment, when an employer has a reasonable suspicion that the employee has been using drugs on the job, to determine an employee’s fitness for a position through a medical evaluation, or when an employee comes back to work after going through rehabilitation following a positive drug test. At drug-free workplaces, it may be more difficult for an employee to rebut a presumption after a positive drug test that intoxication resulted in a workplace injury.
Workers’ Compensation and Drug Use in the Workplace
Employers can test an employee for drugs at any time after an employee’s injury “if the employer has reason to suspect that the injury was occasioned primarily by the intoxication of the employee or by the use of any drug . . . which affected the employee to the extent that the employee’s normal faculties were impaired,” according to the Florida Statutes. An employer can require an employee to take a blood alcohol or drug test after an accident in order to determine whether the employee is intoxicated. If the employee receives a positive drug test, then Florida law says that “it is presumed that the injury was occasioned primarily by the intoxication of, or by the influence of the drug upon, the employee,” and the injury will not be compensable through the workers’ compensation system.
In circumstances where the injury occurs in a drug-free workplace and the employee tests positive, Florida law clarifies that “this presumption may be rebutted only by evidence that there is no reasonable hypothesis that the intoxication or drug influence contributed to the injury.” In workplaces that are not part of the drug-free workplace program, “this presumption may be rebutted by clear and convincing evidence that the intoxication or influence of the drug did not contribute to the injury.” In other words, it is more difficult for the employee to rebut the presumption that drug use caused the injury in workplaces that are part of the drug-free workplace program.
Florida law also suggests that any drug, even a prescription medication, that impairs an employee’s faculties, can limit employer liability for workplace injuries.
Contact Our West Palm Beach Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
If you have questions about drugs and workers’ compensation coverage, an experienced West Palm Beach workers’ compensation attorney can help you to seek compensation and to discuss your options. Contact the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. today.