Every employee deserves safe, fair conditions in the workplace. Unfortunately, work-related accidents remain a serious issue. In Vermont, businesses and organizations are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees. If you are hurt on the job, you can file a claim for benefits through workers’ compensation.
You may be wondering: Can my employer make me take a drug test when I file for workers’ compensation benefits? The answer is “it depends” — while Vermont restricts random drug testing of employees, a worker may be required to take a drug test if suspected of intoxication or use on the job. Here, our Vermont workers’ compensation attorney discusses work injuries and drug tests in Vermont.
Know the Basics: Workers’ Compensation Provides No-Fault Benefits
In Vermont, employers are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their staff. Through the workers’ compensation insurance system, employees are entitled to “no-fault” benefits. In effect, this means that an injured worker can seek workers’ compensation regardless of whether or not their employer caused their injuries through negligence.
Exception: Injuries Caused By Intoxication Are Not Covered
In Vermont, an employee is generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits as long as their injury occurred within the course and scope of their employment. However, there is an exception for work-related injuries caused by intoxication.
If an employee was under the influence of drugs while at work and then sustained an injury, the employer or insurance company could deny their claim on those grounds. Intoxication is an exception to Vermont’s general “no-fault” workers’ compensation standard.
Drug Testing May Be Allowed if Employee Suspected of Drug Use on the Job
Vermont has rules and regulations in place that limit drug testing by employers. Under Vermont law (21 V.S.A. § 513), random drug testing by employers is largely prohibited except when required by federal law.
That being said, this statute also includes an important exception. Under 21 V.S.A. § 513(C)(1), an employer may order drug testing of an employee if they have “probable cause to believe the employee is using or is under the influence of a drug on the job.”
The Bottom Line: In Vermont, an employer cannot require you to take a drug test simply because you are applying for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if an employer has probable cause that an employee was intoxicated and/or using drugs in the workplace, an employer could require a drug test and, potentially, seek to deny workers’ compensation benefits based on the results.
Call Our Vermont Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Immediate Help
At Larson & Gallivan Law, our Vermont workers’ compensation attorneys are standing by, ready to advocate for your legal rights. You deserve financial support after a workplace accident. If you have any questions about drug tests, we can help.
Contact us now for a free initial case evaluation. We represent injured workers throughout Rutland County, including in Rutland, West Rutland, Proctor, Clarendon, Brandon, Castleton, Fair Haven, Pittsford, and Middletown Springs.