by True Activist at trueactivist.com
A civil rights grievance has been filed against the city of Pittsburgh, with officers claiming that being required to undergo mandatory drug testing is a violation of the Constitution.
By Lisa Rough / Leafly
In an incredibly backwards display of irony, the union representing the Pittsburgh police has filed a most unusual lawsuit. A civil rights grievance has been filed against the city, claiming that officers being required to undergo mandatory drug testing is not only a violation of their contract but of the Constitution as well.
Curiously enough, it appears that this unconstitutionality only applies to police officers, not to the public that they are meant to protect and serve. The officers’ argument is that a urine drug analysis constitutes an “illegal search and seizure,” and police would be forced to “forfeit their constitutional rights to protect the city from a civil liability.”
Officers may be subjected to drug testing in three circumstances:
- If an officer is suspected of being under the influence on the job;
- If an officer fires their weapon;
- If the officer is involved in a car crash.
The lawsuit arose as a result of a car chase and crash on Baum Boulevard. As the officers were involved in the car chase that led to the car crash, both were ordered to submit to testing. Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay contends that the contract allows the squad to test officers involved in pursuit, regardless of whether or not they were involved in the crash.
Workplace drug testing, particularly unwarranted drug testing, is certainly a hot-button issue, and one for which constitutionality can easily become a concern. Some might say that if you have nothing to hide, why object to drug testing at all? Truly, what it comes down to is a right to privacy and a right to be left alone, according to the National Workrights Institute.
Drug testing can be a degrading process in and of itself. It involves an embarrassing bodily function and may even require the employee to strip in the presence of an observer to prevent cheating. Additionally, the analysis of a urine test may be more revealing than simply the presence or absence of drugs, as it could disclose personal medical information about the employee being tested.
A big problem with drug tests is that they’re not a measure of job performance. In fact, even if the employee being tested is under suspicion of impairment, the test cannot measure how recently a drug was used and, therefore, cannot be considered wholly reliable. This is particularly relevant when it comes to drug testing for cannabis.
A urine or blood analysis can only measure metabolites or traces of the substance in question, and cannabis traces can remain in one’s system for more than a month after ingestion – or even longer if you’re a regular consumer. (This is also one of the major arguments against cannabis-related DUI charges, as a urine or blood test can’t determine when the cannabis was consumed and whether the driver is, in fact, under the influence or simply carrying residual cannabis traces in his or her system.)
It has been scientifically proven that mandatory drug testing does not deter, prevent, or treat drug use. At best, it is an unrealistic, not to mention costly and ineffective, “quick fix” to a far more wide-ranging and complex issue that results in a loss of work hours and qualified employees.
Getting back to the Pittsburg police force’s lawsuit, it’s unnecessary and expensive to test employees for drugs and alcohol, especially for a car accident in which they weren’t directly involved. Is it unconstitutional? It very well may be. Should this decision help determine the future of drug testing in the workplace? It’s possible. But should the ruling only apply to police officers, or should it extend to the general public as well?
Comment your thoughts below and please share this news!
This article (Police Say It’s Unconstitutional To Mandate Drug Testing On Officers) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com
I work construction. . I get drug tested to go on certain job sites.. If I get hurt it’s a mandatory drug test.. yes the police should be drug tested.
So should our Congress and House of Representatives.. they make the law’s they should not be above the law
Agreed. If I have to be drug tested for my job, any one that is paid with my tax dollars should be as well. If you want to do drugs, go get a job that doesn’t drug test.
That’s bs…if other jobs do drug testing during and/or b4 employment,then it’s only right n fair for police to HAVE to do drug testing too…there r tooo many corrupted police nemore!
There goes their reasoning to confiscate drugs and use it to their own will. Yes, they should be held to the same standards as the rest of us blue collared schleps of society. Why are our men in blue above any law.
What’s unconstitutional is this militarization of LEO’s and their willingness to subdue/beat our asses when they see fit.
Let’s try to give the illusion that they are somewhat straight when they cracked skulls and leave us for dead.
They are correct ! It is unconstitutional . You are supposed to have the right not to testify against one’s self . Remember #5 ? Oh well soon #1 & #2 will be gone . Go going Americans 🙁
No one should have mandatory drug tests. Not the cops or anyone else. Fuck the war on drugs. What ever drugs people decide to do on the weekends is their business.
These bratty bitch ass officers need to suck it up. My husband is a railroad worker and he is subject to drug screens too as are many jobs. Hell welfare recipients are now in some places too. So why the hell is it illegal search and siezures for them and no one else??? Just another example of police hypocrisy and playing god. I think if they refuse then fire their asses and hire someone QUALIFIED and WILLING to do the job and adhere to the requirements.
The police in the US have killed more people in 2015 then Canada had murders, drug testing in needed to help protect the public at large.
I’m not for all sorts of drug testing… but I am for drug testing of any one who can legally kill you in the performance of their job. I’d also like to see ALL members of Congress and their staffers tested on a weekly basis.
Once again we see police behaving as if they are somehow exempt from accountability. Police unions should be banned. Police should be drug tested. All cops convicted of crimes should serve the most severe sentences. The death penalty should always be on the table when cops are tried for murder. Enough is enough.
Drug testing is all bullshit. Why don’t they test for disease. That would save the rich some health care costs. There’s no rules for not hiring a diabetic that cost a lot of money to pay for that
Soldiers have to do it, so should any other civil servant be subject to testing. Especially ones that carry weapons as part of their jobs.
I get drug testing to change light bulbs
at Walmart. Cops aren’t above the law.