Drug Testing in the Workplace Act

Minnesota Lawyers Representing You Through Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing

In Minnesota, employees and employers alike have several individual rights regarding drug and alcohol testing in the workplace. The Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act, often referred to as DATWA, implements limitations on the various circumstances where an employer may request or require an employee to submit to a drug or alcohol test.

Additionally, DATWA upholds certain rights for those employees who have tested positive for drugs or alcohol during a workplace drug test. Employers must adhere to restrictions on disciplinary actions or discharge in connection with a positive drug or alcohol test result.

Minnesota is one of the strictest states in the country when it comes to drug and alcohol testing legislation. The employment law attorneys at MSB have experience working with both employers and employees when violations of the Minnesota Drug and Alcohol Testing in the Workplace Act occur. Contact our trusted Twin Cities employment attorneys for any issues regarding DATWA.

Minnesota Workplace Drug and Alcohol Testing Laws Explained


The enforcement of DATWA rules is relatively stringent in Minnesota compared to other states in America. DATWA limits drug and alcohol testing to just a few employment scenarios while simultaneously prohibiting testing on an arbitrary basis.

Here are a few of the common circumstances where employers can legally require employees to submit to a drug or alcohol screening:

  • Job applicants and potential new hires – only when receiving a conditional job offer
  • Random drug testing – only when employees work in a sensitive position or is a professional athlete
  • Routine physical examinations – only allowed once annually with two weeks’ notice of testing in writing.
  • Reasonable suspicion –  only if an employee is actively violating a drug or alcohol policy, working while under the influence, or causing injuries/accidents in the workplace.
  • During chemical dependency treatment – only when the employee is referred to a treatment program or chemical dependency evaluation by their employer, or when employees partake in treatment programs under an employee benefit program

Employers must verify drug and alcohol testing results through accredited laboratories per DATWA policies. Don’t make the mistake of utilizing an unlicensed laboratory. Work with the employment attorneys at MSB to find certified drug testing sites in the Twin Cities.


Who Is Required to Test in Minnesota?

Although Minnesota drug and alcohol testing laws are quite strict, certain job applicants are excluded from DATWA protections due to express preemption by federal law. Several specific occupations and industries require employees to undergo chemical testing for safety and liability purposes, such as:

  • Transit workers
  • Commercial drivers
  • Railroad workers
  • Commercial vessel employees
  • Nuclear power plant employees
  • Energy and utility departments
  • Aviation employees
  • Defense contractors

Organizations often utilize employment law attorneys to develop drug-testing policies that align with DATWA rules. Drafting a comprehensive, company-wide policy can help protect employers and employees (current or potential) alike in the event of a positive result. MSB is a Twin Cities employment law firm offering holistic legal services to organizations of all sizes, ensuring workplace drug testing policies remain in line with DATWA legislation. Contact us now to learn more about your rights as either an employee or business owner.

Parental Leave Discrimination

Review some examples of workplace policies that violate both state and federal parental leave discrimination laws, such as:

  • Offering paid parental leave with unfair disparities between men and women’s time allowance.
  • Retaliating against new parents for taking paid and unpaid leave with reduced hours or salary, wrongful termination, undesirable work assignments, and denied promotions.
  • Providing paid maternity leave only to birth mothers, not adoptive parents.
  • Placing unjust parental leave conditions for specific genders.
  • Denying lawful parental leave requests.
  • Emotionally harassing or making snide jokes and comments before or after an employee’s parental leave.
  • Denying reasonable return-to-work accommodations including flexible schedules, working remote, or part-time hours.

If you feel like any of the above situations apply to you, it’s essential to reach out for assistance. At MSB, we have extensive experience helping families dealing with parental leave discrimination, and we are here to stand up for your rights. Contact our knowledgeable and caring attorneys today to schedule an initial consultation to start fighting for better treatment and just compensation from your employer.

FAQ: Employee Rights After Failing a Workplace Drug Test in MN

Whether currently holding a safety-sensitive position or accepting a job offer contingent on a clean drug and alcohol screen, employees have several rights protected under DATWA if a positive result occurs. Here are just a few of the common questions the employment lawyers at MSB receive from clients regularly:

1. Is my employer allowed to ask for a drug test as a condition of employment in my new position?

Although employers have no legal obligation to require drug and alcohol tests from applicants, they are still within their rights to ask for one under certain circumstances. After an applicant receives a written job offer and explicit notice of drug and alcohol testing policies for their position, an employer is legally allowed to request a screening, but only if they test every applicant for the same position. Applicants must also acknowledge that they are aware of any drug and alcohol testing policies upon accepting the job offer.

2. What should I do if my results come back positive?

If an applicant’s drug or alcohol screening results are positive, they have 72 hours to explain the results to their current or potential employer. Then, the applicant must request a confirmatory test to dispute the initial positive results. Job offers contingent on a negative result may not be rescinded until a second positive result is verified via the confirmatory test.

3. Who can help if I’ve been terminated or a job offer is rescinded after receiving a positive drug or alcohol test result?

Work with an employment law attorney with experience in wrongful termination cases and employment disputes. Minnesota law firms like MSB can assist in attempting to recover lost wages, reinstate your employment after a positive result, or seek damages for emotional distress.

Exceptional Twin Cities Workplace Drug Testing Attorneys


When employers decide to include drug and alcohol testing requirements in company policies, the terms of every contract must align with the Minnesota Drug Testing in the Workplace Act or DATWA. Without providing a clear outline of all policies to current and potential employees, an organization is at fault for violating certain protections.

An experienced employment law firm like MSB can assist employers when writing policies on drug and alcohol testing, ensuring all specific legal language is included. Additionally, the employment attorneys at MSB work with employees after retaliation or wrongful termination due to a positive drug test result.

Know your rights in the workplace regarding drug and alcohol testing. Contact MSB today to determine what damages you deserve or to draft a high-quality legal document to distribute company-wide. Whatever Twin Cities legal services you might need, the advocates at MSB are always on your side.

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