Federal Court Says Florida Drug-Testing Order for State Employees is Unconstitutional
A federal court has ruled that an executive order by Florida Governor Rick Scott, which would randomly test state workers for drugs, is unconstitutional. The policy constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure, Federal District Judge Ursula Ungaro ruled Thursday.
Florida Governor Rick Scott ordered random drug testing for about 80,000 state employees in March 2011. In June, he suspended the order after it was challenged in federal court, The New York Times reports.
Judge Ungaro said there was no evidence of a large-scale drug problem among state employees, and there was no urgent reason to require drug testing.
Governor Scott said in a statement, “As I have repeatedly explained, I believe that drug testing state employees is a common-sense means of ensuring a safe, efficient and productive work force. 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.”
This year, the Florida legislature passed a bill to allow state workers to undergo random drug tests. The governor signed the bill into law, which is scheduled to take effect in July. The federal court ruling does not affect the law, which is expected to be challenged in a separate lawsuit.
The Florida legislature passed another measure last year, which required welfare applicants to pass a drug test in order to receive benefits. The program was halted after the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida sued the state to stop it.