ACLU Files Suit over Drug Testing; More Legal Action Is Planned against the Governor, Legislature

The Florida Times Union, June 2, 2011 | Go to article overview

ACLU Files Suit over Drug Testing; More Legal Action Is Planned against the Governor, Legislature


MIAMI The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to halt Gov. Rick Scott's executive order mandating drug testing for state employees in what the organization called an extreme overreach of Scott's powers.

Scott ordered drug testing of new hires and spot checks of existing state employees under him in March and gave state agencies 60 days to decide how to implement the plan. The state already has the power to test employees if they suspect drug abuse, but this order could apply to state employees regardless of suspicions.

"This is a governor who is willing to use the power of government to intrude upon your rights in Florida," said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida. Simon said the lawsuit was the first of several the organization plans to file against Scott and the Republican-led Legislature after a session Simon said trampled on civil rights.

"The analysis of urine also tells a lot more about you that is nobody's business," said Simon, including whether an employee is pregnant, or taking heart, diabetes, depression or other medications.

The ACLU won a similar lawsuit on behalf of a Department of Juvenile Justice employee in 2004 after a federal judge said random testing without suspicion was unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle of Tallahassee determined the department was wrong to fire an office employee because he had no direct contact with children nor were there any safety reasons for the testing, such as carrying a gun or driving.

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ACLU Files Suit over Drug Testing; More Legal Action Is Planned against the Governor, Legislature
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