Does Drug Use Disqualify Your California Workers’ Compensation Claim?

apothecary, pharmacy, chemist-437743.jpg

For California employees injured at work, workers’ compensation is typically available through an employer’s insurance carrier. Workers’ compensation is meant to protect employees and employers when a workplace injury occurs.

The California Workers’ Compensation system is a no-fault system, meaning that the injured employee is not required to prove that negligence played a role in order to receive compensation for costs related to workplace injuries or illnesses. However, there are exceptions to the rule.

If you are a Californian injured at work and fail drug testing, you may be denied workers’ compensation benefits.

Will I Be Drug Tested If I’m Injured at Work?

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) states that it is against the law for an employer to use drug testing as a way to discourage an employee from reporting an incident. To that end, an employer is not allowed to implement policies mandating automatic drug tests following a workplace accident.

However, that does not mean employers can’t subject employees to drug testing. Drug testing new hires, random drug tests, and drug testing in cases where reasonable suspicion of drug use exists are all permitted at the employer’s discretion.

However, no policy may be enacted that mandates drug testing after a work accident or work injury occurs. Drug testing may only be permitted if evidence exists that drugs may have been a contributing factor in the incident. An employer is required to have a reasonable basis to request a drug test.

If your employer wrongfully required you to take a drug test following a workplace injury, you might be the victim of a retaliation campaign. A California workers’ comp attorney will help determine if the employer has discriminated against you.

Are Drug Tests Required Under Workers’ Comp?

As mentioned above, workers’ comp is known as a “no-fault” system. Therefore, if you’ve been injured at work, you have no burden of proof. Furthermore, California does not require employers to perform a drug test on employees after an accident.

However, a drug screening may be requested when an employer reasonably suspects that drugs played a direct role in the accident. In addition, an employer may waive drug testing after a workplace injury has occurred because they don’t want to cover the cost or wait while a test is made available. Ultimately, it is their choice whether or not to request a workers’ compensation drug test.

If your drug use contributed to or caused the incident, you may be disqualified from collecting workers’ compensation. However, the employer is subject to a burden of proof, according to California Labor Code Section 5705, to prove that you were under the influence and that it was the cause or, at the very least, a contributing factor in the accident.

The bottom line is that even if your employer requests that you take a drug screening after an accident and fail, you may still be able to collect workers’ comp benefits. Ultimately, a judge will decide if intoxication plays a role in workers’ comp eligibility.

Contact an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney in California

If you or a loved one has been injured on the job and your employer required a drug test, contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys from Aoudi Law. Our team has the experience necessary to ensure you get the compensation you deserve, no matter the situation.

The California workers’ compensation specialists from the team at Aoudi Law have extensive experience representing clients just like you. So whether you are just starting the workers’ compensation claims process or if your employer’s insurance company has denied your claim because of alleged drug use, the professional staff at Aoudi Law is here to help.

Call or text 714-769-8706 today for a free consultation.

Picture of Aoudi Law

Aoudi Law

Schedule Your

Free Consultation