Hollywood May Rethink Drug Testing 

Hollywood May Rethink Drug Testing 
Posted by FoM on April 13, 2000 at 23:18:42 PT
By Kai T. Hill 
Source: Sun-Sentinel
A federal judge has declared the city's drug testing policy unconstitutional after a man sued the city for reneging on a job offer because he refused to take a drug test.  Lawyers for the Broward County Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the city's drug policy just more than a year ago on Thomas Baron's behalf. 
The city offered Baron an accounting job in April 1997 but decided not to hire him after he refused to undergo a urinalysis.  Baron thought that a drug test was an invasion of his privacy, said ACLU attorney Ephraim Hess. "Not every government applicant [should have] to go through the indignity of a drug test," Hess said.  Judge Kenneth Ryskamp made the ruling two weeks ago in U.S. District Court in West Palm Beach.  City officials have not decided whether to appeal the ruling. City Attorney Dan Abbott said the city is considering amending the drug testing policy to require that only safety-sensitive employees be tested.  Mayor Mara Giulianti said the city will have to revise the policy. She favors changing it to allow only the testing of safety sensitive or essential employees. "The city is not going to enforce a policy that has been ruled unconstitutional," she said.  Before he was offered a full-time job, Baron worked as a temporary accountant for the city and received praise from the accounting managerial staff for his ability to create databases and reconcile budgets.  Treasury Manager Doreen Lam dubbed him "Magic Man," ACLU lawyers said.  The city's human resources department has contended that its decade-old drug policy creates a safe, drug-free environment for all of its employees.  Baron's lawsuit was based on a 1997 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned a Georgia law requiring political candidates to undergo drug tests.  In Baron's lawsuit and the Georgia case, the courts ruled that the Fourth Amendment prohibits government agencies from conducting searches and seizures, including drug tests, in the absence of suspicious behavior.  Baron seeks compensation but that's still to be determined by the courts, Hess said.  ACLU lawyers said the ruling sends a message to governmental bodies such as Hollywood's that require their new employees undergo drug testing.  "You just can't blanket test employees without a special need," Hess said.  Kai T. Hill can be reached at khill or 954-385-7925.Hollywood:Web-Posted: April 13, 2000Copyright 1999, Sun-Sentinel Co. & South Florida Interactive, Inc.Related Articles & Web Site:ACLU Files Suit Against Lockney ISD Drug-Testing Enters Lockney ISD Drug-Testing Controversy Files Lawsuit Against Lockney Schools Drug Testing Archives: 
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Comment #1 posted by Alexandre Oeming on April 14, 2000 at 06:53:20 PT:
Just you wait
>"You just can't blanket test employees without a special need," Hess said.Won't it be funny when this IS the case? This is the direction we are headed, people, make no mistake about it. The nobility needs to use everything in its power to suppress the uppity peasants and technology is going to yield them the tools to do it. Non-drug-users don't think it won't happen to you? Don't make me laugh.
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