Court Decides There's no Reason to Drug Test Some Job Applicants

March 14, 2008 ( - The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has decided an applicant for a job as a part-time library page does not have to submit to drug and alcohol testing if there is no reason to be suspicious of their misuse.

According to Business Insurance, the appellate court said the ruling does not put a bar on such a policy being necessarily applied to other city positions. In its unanimous, three-judge decision in Janet Lynn Lanier vs. City of Woodburn, the panel said it agreed with a lower court that “Woodburn’s policy is unconstitutional as applied, because the city failed to demonstrate a special need to screen a prospective page for drugs.”

The opinion said “we discern no substantial risk to public safety posed by Lanier’s prospective position as a part-time library page,” Business Insurance reported.

The City of Woodburn, Oregon, requires a pre-employment drug and alcohol test for all prospective applicants, and Lanier’s job offer was rescinded after she declined to be tested. She sued the city for violating her constitutional rights.

The appellate court provided that there was “no concrete reason why Woodburn’s policy could not constitutionally be applied to jobs that, for example, require the operation of dangerous equipment.”