Governor Mary Fallin has signed numerous amendments to the Oklahoma Standards for Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Act and the changes to the law will go into effect November 1, 2011. Employers in Oklahoma may need to update or revise their existing substance-abuse testing programs to accommodate these new modifications.
Some key amendments to the law include:
- Companies will be permitted to drug test independent contractors, subcontractors and employees of independent contractors, provided the contractual agreement allows such testing, and other workers at the workplace are similarly subject to testing;
- Employers can change or implement new drug testing policies by giving 10 days notice, compared to 30 days under the previous law.
- Express direction that the use of other methods of testing including breathalyzers and “onsite or quick testing device(s)” may be implemented as part of an employer policy;
- It will become more difficult for employees who have been terminated for testing positive or refusing to take a drug and alcohol test to obtain unemployment compensation benefits.
- The statute of limitations for civil suits alleging will violation of the Act has been reduced from two years to one year, and the plaintiff must prove “the employer had a specific intent to violate the act.”
- Any prevailing defendant may be awarded reasonable costs and attorney fees;
- The possibility of criminal consequences for violations of the Act have been repealed.
Employers who are subject to these new guidelines should contact their legal counsel and/or revise their policies accordingly. EBI works with employers within the state of Oklahoma to design fast, cost-effective and compliant drug and alcohol testing programs.
Employment Background Investigation, Inc. is committed to providing employers with valuable education, news and resources around background screening, drug testing, occupational healthcare and employment eligibility. All content provided by EBI is published for the convenience of its readers and should never be deemed as legal guidance or advice. Always consult your legal counsel for specific advice on local laws and industry regulations.
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