COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Private company workers who provide drug test urine samples under direct observation can’t sue over invasion of privacy, a divided Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.
The court’s 4-3 decision overturned a lower-court decision that had sided with two former employees of a plastic housewares company in northeastern Ohio.
The company said the employees lost their right to sue when they agreed to the test under the company’s substance abuse policy.
The employees unsuccessfully argued that Ohio law recognizes a right to unreasonable invasion of privacy.
Ohio has long recognized the right to sue over invasion of privacy, but that right is not absolute, Justice Sharon Kennedy wrote for the majority.
“An employee who consents to drug testing cannot claim that the testing was highly offensive and invaded his or her right to privacy,” Kennedy said.
Justice Melody Stewart, writing the dissenting opinion, said the employees, in consenting to the test, were not told they would be directly observed while providing a sample.
“What indignities must an at-will employee suffer to avoid losing his or her income and benefits before the employee has a cause of action for invasion of privacy?” Stewart wrote.