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Workplace Drug Testing Bill Assailed

Author: David Clough Date: February 05, 2014

Worker advocates are strongly opposing legislation that would establish a uniform workplace drug testing policy for interested employers and make it easier for employers to conduct random testing of employees.

 

Employers that want to conduct applicant, probable cause, and random testing would be able to use a uniform state policy instead of employers creating their own policies.  The model state policy would save employers and state officials from the cumbersome chore of writing and approving separate policies for each employer that wants to do drug testing.

 

LD 1669 would also allow employers of more than 20 employees to conduct random testing without having to establish an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  EAPs are already optional for businesses with 20 or fewer employees.  Maine is one of a small number of states that require EAPs as part of a company’s drug testing policy.

 

NFIB and other business groups testified in support of LD 1669.  A model testing policy that employers could use received particular emphasis.

 

Not so for groups advocating on behalf of workers.  The Maine AFL-CIO, which urged defeat of LD 1669, objected to a “one-size fits all” uniform policy, saying that policies should be tailored to individual workplaces and written with employee input.  The group also objected to making EAPs voluntary and to removing the requirement that employers over more than 20 workers pay half the cost of assistance for workers who test positive.

 

The Maine State Employees Union (MSEA) also opposed the legislation as did the Maine Civil Liberties Union and the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine.

 

No work session is scheduled yet.

 

LD 1669 – An Act to Standardize and Simplify the Process for Employers to Provide a Drug-Free Workplace

www.mainelegislature.org/legis/bills/display_ps.asp?ld=1669&PID=1456&snum=126

 

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