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Random Drug Testing in CA

Random employee drug testing in California, while legal, is restricted by previous case rulings. Only when an employer has valid suspicion of an employee's drug use and the belief that his poor performance is directly related to drug use can they comfortably request testing.


California's restricted drug testing laws enable employees to file lawsuits against employers who have allegedly requested an illegal random drug test. Along with reasonable suspicion, an employer can justify his request if he feels the test was in response to a safety or health hazard in the workplace. 


While random employee drug testing is only restricted in most parts of California, it is prohibited in San Francisco. Berkeley also differs from the rest of the state in that its ordinance against random drug testing is extremely strict. 


In the 1985 case of Luck v. Southern Pacific Transportation Co., a computer programmer won a wrongful termination suit against the company after she was fired for refusing to take a urine test.

Random Drug & Alcohol Testing Facts

Random Drug testing
Random alcohol and drug testing can effectively determine substance use. Many individuals who submit to random drug or alcohol testing want to know how long different substances remain in the system. The answer to this varies widely, depending on a person's sex, weight, tolerance, the amount of food in his system and additional factors. 

The lengths of time provided are guidelines only. According to information provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation, random drug and alcohol testing is mandated for drivers with a commercial driver's license or CDL.


    Alcohol is considered a drug by almost all professionals and interventionists. According to Health Tests Direct, a drug testing company, alcohol will remain in the system for between one and 10 hours.

    Amphetamines and Barbituates

    Truck drivers and people who must stay awake for long periods of time may be susceptible to using amphetamines, which speed up your heart rate and metabolism. Health Tests Direct reports that speed will stay in a person's system for one or two days. Methamphetamines, however, can remain in the system for two to four days. According to the National Drug and Research Centre in Australia, the main difference between amphetamine and methamphetamine is a slight difference in chemical properties. Most street speed used is in the form of methamphetamine, also known as crystal.

    Barbituates have the opposite effect of methamphetamines and slow down a person's bodily functions. They can remain in the system for two to three days, according to Health Tests Direct.


    Steroid use has received much publicity in the media since 2005, due, in part, to increased use by popular sports figures. These drugs can remain in the system for up to three weeks if ingested orally and up to six months if injected, according to Health Tests Direct.

    Marijuana and LSD

    A drug test for marijuana will yield positive results if the person has used it in the past two to five days. However, in daily heavy users, marijuana can be detected for up to 30 days or even longer after the last use. LSD, also commonly known as acid, stays in the system for anywhere from a few hours to up to five days.

    Cocaine and Opiates

    Health Tests Direct reports that cocaine, including the rock form of it known as crack, stays in the system for one or two days. Codeine, heroin and other drugs from the opiate family remain in the system for one or two days.

    Types of Testing

    According to the Minneapolis Public School System, random drug testing can be done four different ways: urine, hair, saliva and blood. Urine tests are the most common and least expensive type of testing. Saliva tests are increasing in use and are less intrusive than urine tests. Blood and hair testing are the most expensive methods and the most costly. Hair testing must be performed using a sample of hair about the diameter of a pencil and 1.5 inches long and cannot be performed using a single strand of hair.      

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