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Drug Test Done Without Knowledge by Subject Acceptable in Certain Circumstances
Description Appeals court held that the Fourth Amendment rights of a police officer were not violated when his urine, provided during a medical exam, was used for drug testing without his knowledge. His dismissal for drug usage was proper given that he was a police officer and had signed a consent form to be subject to drug testing at any time.
Topic Employment Law
Key Words Drug Testing; Knowledge; Fourth Amendment
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Carroll was a police officer. When hired, he signed a waiver allowing his urine to be tested at any time, with or without cause. His supervisor received a tip that Carroll was using heroin. He asked the police department physician to test a urine sample Carroll provided as part of a regular physical. Carroll did not know the urine sample was being used for drug testing purposes. When heroin was found, he was fired. Carroll sued, claiming Fourth Amendment rights violation. The district court dismissed the case; Carroll appealed.
Decision Affirmed. There was no unreasonable search or seizure here. The government has a legitimate and compelling interest in ensuring that the judgment of armed police officers is not impaired by the use of illegal drugs and that those involved in drug interdiction efforts are not themselves drug users. Further, Carroll knew he signed a waiver allowing a drug test at any time, without cause or knowledge, and that he could be fired for refusing to submit to a drug test. The fact that the test was ordered because of a tip does not matter.
Citation Carroll v. City of Westminster, 2000 WL 1719921 (4th Cir., 2000)

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