In Minnesota, employers can drug test employees who are injured on the job. Test results can affect workers’ employment status as well as their workers’ compensation cases.
What Is the Law on Drug Testing?
Minnesota workers’ compensation laws permit employers to drug test any employee who gets injured in the workplace. Employers also can drug test if they have a reasonable suspicion that someone is taking drugs. In addition, the federal OSHA rules allow states to pass laws permitting drug testing after injuries. Further, OSHA allows drug testing “to evaluate the root cause of a workplace incident that harmed or could have harmed employees.” OSHA emphasizes that all employees involved in the incident should be tested, not just ones who reported their injuries. This guidance focuses on eliminating use of drug tests as retaliatory measures for requesting workers’ comp benefits.
Can an Insurer Deny Benefits Because of a Positive Drug Test?
Yes, workers’ compensation insurance companies can and do deny benefits because employees test positive for drugs. Some of these employees challenge the denials. In that case, the insurance company has the burden of showing that drug use led to the injury. Specifically, the insurance company must show:
- That an employee was intoxicated by drugs at the time of the injury; and
- That the intoxication was the direct cause of the injury (not just a factor that, among others, led to the injury).
To summarize, your hope for workers’ comp benefits is not lost if you test positive for drugs. Rather, you will need to challenge the insurance company’s automatic assumption that intoxication caused your injury.
To challenge a benefits denial, consider speaking to a Minnesota workers’ compensation lawyer about your options. He or she can give you suggests on strategy and investigate the root cause of your injury. It is helpful to have an advocate on your side when the insurance company is accusing you of intoxication on the job because of a positive drug test.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.