Many workers who may require benefits for a job injury are nervous about applying for them. Most companies in Maryland must provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Whenever workers develop job-acquired medical conditions, they can file a claim for benefits that could replace their lost wages and pay for their medical care.
Of course, employers facing large claims sometimes push back, possibly out of concern that the claim could affect what they pay for coverage in the future. Workers may worry about a contested claim, especially if they think their personal habits could lead to increased scrutiny from their employer. For example, a worker who regularly drinks or uses recreational drugs may feel like they can’t even report an incident on the job because of the possibility of drug and alcohol testing.
Does Maryland allow companies to test workers for drugs and alcohol after an injury on the job?
Drug testing is a common practice after injuries
Drug tests administered after a work injury are so common that many employers treat them as standard practice. The law in Maryland does allow employers to require drug testing after an incident on the job. Companies can even engage in randomized testing of workers without any precipitating incidents in many cases.
Employers that maintain drug-free workplaces may have an easier time limiting the number of incidents that occur and deterring misconduct by employees. They can save money on insurance premiums too in many cases. Companies therefore choose to establish and enforce drug-free workplace policies.
Workers should know that failing a drug test does not automatically prevent them from getting benefits. Instead, the test may “simply” complicate the claims process. Employers would need to prove that the worker was under the influence of drugs or alcohol on the job and that their chemical impairment directly contributed to the incident that left them hurt. Particularly if someone only had a residual trace of drugs in their system after a long weekend, a failed drug test does not necessarily mean they become ineligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
Understanding the rules for injury-related drug testing during workers’ compensation claims, and seeking legal guidance accordingly, may benefit those who have been hurt on the job and are worried about their finances.