(CN) – A North Carolina school system violated its employees’ rights by forcing them to submit to random drug and alcohol testing, the North Carolina Court of Appeals ruled. The court cited privacy concerns and the lack of evidence that anyone has been harmed by a “detectable amount” of drugs or alcohol in an employee’s system.
Susan Jones and the North Carolina Association of Educators sued the Graham County Board of Education to challenge the policy, which required drivers to submit to random testing and required all employees to pass “an alcohol or drug test” as a condition of employment.
The testing policy became even stricter in December 2006, when all employees became subject to random testing. The employees sued five months later.
The trial court ruled for the school board, but Judge Stephens reversed the decision on the grounds that it violated the state Constitution’s ban on unreasonable searches.
“We are unable to conclude from this record,” Stephens wrote, “that any of the board’s employees have a reduced expectation of privacy by virtue of their employment in a public school system.
“There is also a complete want of evidence that any student or employee has ever been harmed because of the presence of ‘a detectable amount of illegal drug or alcohol’ in an employee’s body.”