Changes Could Be Coming To Workplace Drug Protocols 

Some changes could be coming to workplace drug testing rules in Maine and some organized labor groups aren’t happy about it.

State Senator Andre Cushing, a Hampden Republican, introduced the measure Tuesday afternoon. Supporters say current state policy is too tough on employers.

It says employers with more than 20 workers who want drug testing policies can’t fire employees for testing positive. It also calls for employers to pay for up to six months of rehab. The new proposal would have the Department of Labor create a uniform policy for every employer.

“There’s a misunderstanding among some employees that may have addictions and then they’re going to work for people and then self-reporting that they have an addiction hoping that somebody will pay half of the cost associated with that. That tells me that there is a need out there but the one size fits all protocol that’s in place now is not properly allowing for them to deal with some of those situations,” Cushing told lawmakers.

Part of the proposal would let employers drug test employees on the spot if they have “probable cause”. That’s a part of the bill proposal that organized labor groups don’t like it.

“Maine currently has a very good law on the books that protects employees privacy rights while also respecting employers ability to try and gave a drug free workplace. We think it’s working. And we don’t think workers should give up their privacy rights for no good reason,” said Matt Schlobohm, Director of the AFL-CIO of Maine.

A public hearing was held on the bill Tuesday. An initial vote on it could come within a few weeks.