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FL court bars firing government employees who refuse random drug testing

[JURIST] Florida Chief District Judge Robert Hinkle ruled Wednesday that a policy subjecting all Florida Department of Juvenile Justice employees to random drug testing was unconstitutionally applied to an office worker, accepting the plaintiff's argument that testing should be reserved for employees who either create a suspicion that they are drug users or work in positions involving law enforcement duties or contact with juveniles. Hinkle did not order the department to change its testing policy, but held that it was unconstitutional as applied to plaintiff Roderick Wenzel. Department attorneys had argued that testing Wenzel was necessary because if he were a drug user, he might have looked up juvenile records to find drug offenders and then threatened them or their families if they failed to provide him with drugs. Hinkle rejected this argument, noting that "to call this defense theory far-fetched would be charitable." Department spokesman Tom Denham has said testing will continue for all employees. Asked if the department would continue firing employees who refuse tests, Denham said, "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it." AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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