Tools for drug testing

published in The Journal Record | July 21, 2011

McAfee & Taft labor and employment attorney Charlie Plumb and state Senator Patrick Anderson were featured in a Journal Record article highlighting their presentation to the Tulsa Metro Chamber HR Forum, during which they discussed recent reforms to the Oklahoma’s Workplace Drug Testing Act that takes effect Nov.1.

Plumb told the audience that employers should update their drug testing policies now to take full advantage of this new beneficial state law, the article reported.

“If you don’t change your policy by Nov. 1, you are contractually obligating yourself to the old law after Nov. 1,” Plumb said.

The new reforms to the Act came with House Bill 2033, which was championed by Sen. Anderson and passed the Senate without a dissenting vote, The Journal Record reported. The changes are designed to help businesses improve workplace safety and better contain their unemployment and workers’ compensation cost, all by streamlining employee drug testing regulations.

“Complexities in the state’s current law helped employees that were fired over positive drug tests to claim unemployment benefits. The current law also featured a number of technicalities that employers sometimes failed to meet, fueling employee legal challenges and reinstatements despite testing positive,” Plumb told the audience.

The new law should make it easier to seek and enforce drug testing, eliminating the required list of substances and introducing “for cause” testing while replacing the “reasonable suspicion” test with “reasonable belief,” he said.

“It is a big win for employers. It makes it simple, more straightforward. It looks like it was written by real people,” said Plumb.