A federal judge Thursday declared unconstitutional random drug testing of the very federal workers responsible for implementing nationwide federal drug testing.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge D. Lowell Jensen bars mandatory random urine tests and post-accident testing for roughly 800 of the 6,000 workers for the Office of Personnel Management.Jensen said the testing plan constitutes an unreasonable search in violation of the Constitution's fourth amendment.
His order grants the workers a preliminary injunction blocking random testing.
Jensen did approve the testing of employees when a reasonable suspicion exists that a worker is using an illegal drug.
The suit did not challenge the testing of new job applicants.
The OPM testing plan was part of the nationwide 1986 program ordered by President Ronald Reagan to institute testing of all federal workers.
The 800 OPM workers who were to be subjects of mandatory random testing were investigators whose job duties required them to investigate the qualifications of job applicants for civil service positions.
Laurence Pulgram, attorney for the workers, said the 800 employees were involved in backround checks for employees for positions such as nuclear contractors.
The other 5,200 workers were to be subjected to post-accident testing in certain circumstances.
Pulgram said limited testing was begun in Washington, D.C., before the suit was filed and has continued.
"Now even that (random) testing must stop," he said.
The case is one of a spate of suits filed by various federal agencies to challenge individual agency plans developed to carry out Reagan's 1986 testing order.