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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Ordering a correction officer to submit to a drug test, without more, does not violate the officer’s rights under the Constitution or §75 of the Civil Service Law

Ordering a correction officer to submit to a drug test, without more, does not violate the officer’s rights under the Constitution or §75 of the Civil Service Law
Department of Corrections v Johnson, OATH Index #1303/11

A New York City correction officer who tested positive for illegal drugs argued that the results were obtained in violation of her union and privacy rights. In essence, the officer challenged the legality of a second drug test administered to her after she tested positive in an earlier test on the grounds that the test violated the office’s right to union representation under §75 of the Civil Service Law and her right to be free from unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment.

OATH Administrative Law Judge John Spooner rejected the correction officer’s theory and found that the tests had been properly conducted.

Significantly, Judge Spooner found that the procedure did not involve questioning of the officer by a supervisor or anyone else. Rather Johnson was ordered by a captain to report to the toxicology unit and there was directed to provide a hair sample by a civilian staff member. Because the test did not involve questioning, no written notice of a right to union representation was required under Civil Service Law §75(2).

The ALJ recommended that Johnson’s employment be terminated.

The decision is posted on the Internet at:
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