Supreme Court refuses to hear Florida appeal over worker drug testing

WASHINGTON Mon Apr 21, 2014 3:48pm EDT

Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott speaks at a ceremony opening new newsroom facilities for the Univision and Fusion television networks in Doral, Florida August 28, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott speaks at a ceremony opening new newsroom facilities for the Univision and Fusion television networks in Doral, Florida August 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Joe Skipper

Related Topics

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Supreme Court on Monday declined to review an executive order issued by Florida Governor Rick Scott that had required all state employees take random drug tests.

The high court's decision not to hear the case means a May 2013 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found the governor's order to be too broad remains intact.

The appeals court said Scott, a Republican, could not require all employees to take tests, although it was justified for some workers, including those involved in law enforcement.

Scott defended his policy in a statement issued on Monday.

"State employees should have the right to work in a safe and drug free environment, just like in any other business," he said.

Litigation over which employees can be subject to testing will now continue in lower courts.

The 2011 executive order was aimed at all 85,000 state workers. It was challenged in court by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents almost 40,000 of the workers potentially affected.

The union said the order violated the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

Shalini Goel Agarwal, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represents the employees' union, said in a statement that the question of whether a state can require all workers to submit to a drug test without a reason has long been settled.

"Without a threat to public safety or a suspicion of drug use, people can't be required to sacrifice their constitutional rights in order to serve the people of Florida," she said.

The union did not challenge whether Scott could require drug testing of employees in safety-sensitive jobs.

The case is Scott v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, U.S. Supreme Court, 13-841.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Tom Brown)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (6)
Kiljoy616 wrote:
As long as politicians and cops are been tested the same way I am all for it. So when do we start testing congress?

Apr 21, 2014 4:49pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bakhtin wrote:
Another example of a Republican administration expanding government and intruding into individual matters, even when it violates constitutional rights.

Republicans are big-government. Their actions prove it.

Apr 21, 2014 12:50am EDT  --  Report as abuse
TheDude76 wrote:
How is drug tested a violation of constitutional rights?

Apr 22, 2014 6:56am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.