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Judge Rejects Florida State Employee Drug Testing

A federal district court judge in Miami has thrown out Florida Gov. Rick Scott's (R) executive order requiring state employees to submit to suspicionless drug tests. The order violates the Fourth Amendment's proscription against unreasonable searches and seizures, the judge ruled.

Gov. Scott, a former health care executive, issued the order calling for random drug testing of all state employees in March 2011, but stayed it in the face of a legal challenge from the ACLU of Florida and the Association of Federal, State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the union representing thousands of state workers.

Scott argued that requiring drug tests was akin to statutory requirements that some state workers make financial disclosures, but US District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro wasn't buying it.

In her ruling last Wednesday, Ungaro called Scott's reasoning "hardly transparent and frankly obscure" and said it did not justify violating the Fourth Amendment. "He offers no plausible rationale explaining why the fact that a state employee's work product and financial status are publicly accessible leads to the conclusions that the employee's expectation of privacy in his or her bodily functions and fluids are then diminished," Ungaro wrote.

"The governor can't order the state to search people's bodily fluids for no reason -- the Constitution prohibits that sort of government intrusion," said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida. "And the governor can't demand that people surrender their constitutional rights for the privilege of working for the state or receiving some other government benefit."

"Today's ruling is important because it reinforces the bright line which government may not cross," said ACLU cooperating attorney Peter Walsh. "If the state is going to require a drug test as a condition of keeping your job, it needs to have a reason, and simply being against drugs isn't enough."

In a statement last Thursday, Scott said he would appeal, but gave no acknowledgment of the constitutional issues involved.

"As I have repeatedly explained, I believe that drug testing state employees is a common sense means of ensuring a safe, efficient and productive workforce," he said."That is why so many private employers drug-test, and why the public and Florida's taxpayers overwhelmingly support this policy. I respectfully disagree with the court's ruling and will pursue the case on appeal."

Scott is not doing well with his drug testing campaign. A law he backed requiring drug tests for people seeking welfare has been temporarily blocked by a federal district court judge in Orlando, who has indicated she will likely find that measure also unconstitutional.

Miami, FL
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Well Done!!!!

Awesome, well done America...

Stand up to the:

 

Right Wing Neo Fascist Politicians trying to get business for the Right Wing Neo Fascist Corporations

Does thelaw apply equally to ALL?

So, it's unconstitutional to drug test government employee's, but private sector employee's are not covered under the constitution? What about the fifth amendment? Isn't a drug test a form of testifying against ones self? Against ones will? Are there two class's of American citizen? Does employment cancel certain constitutional rights? Can your employer search your home as a term of employment? Does your employer own your body? What other rights are employers free to violate, as a term of employment? How about mental evaluations, personal beliefs? Can your employer choose your religion? What you eat? What you read? Would this ruling set a president? Does it only apply to government employee's? Since I pay tax's, that in turn pay governmental workers salaries, aren't I their employer? Is this a double standard?

"As I have repeatedly

"As I have repeatedly explained, I believe that drug testing state employees is a common sense means of ensuring a safe, efficient and productive workforce," he said."That is why so many private employers drug-test," No, that is incorrect. Some private companies drug test because the get a 5% discount from their workers comp insurance if they do. The feds pay (bribe) for companies to drug test. All the studies say it has no effect on workplace safety. It is all a big scam. You (rick scott) wants it because you own drug testing facilities. What a hypocrite you are!

"As I have repeatedly

"As I have repeatedly explained, I believe that drug testing state employees is a common sense means of ensuring a safe, efficient and productive workforce," he said."That is why so many private employers drug-test," No, that is incorrect. Some private companies drug test because the get a 5% discount from their workers comp insurance if they do. The feds pay (bribe) for companies to drug test. All the studies say it has no effect on workplace safety. It is all a big scam. You (rick scott) wants it because you own drug testing facilities. What a hypocrite you are!

Try-Try-Again


What worries me is the Try-Try-Again approach.  Sooner or later some of these laws will stick, and the actual decreased privacy leads to a decreased expectation of privacy.  This invasion will feed on itself.  

Cudoes to Judge Ursula Ungaro for seeing through the  "public safety concerns."
 

mandatory

How about mandatory drug testing on our representatives in Tallahassee and Washington DC? lazario

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