A state Senate committee has endorsed industry-backed legislation allowing employers to fire workers testing positive for drugs or alcohol if they have a clearly stated anti-drug and alcohol policy.
The legislation, proposed by the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry and sent to the full Senate on Tuesday by the Commerce and Human Resources Committee, would preclude unemployment benefits to workers dismissed under such circumstances.
Workers could also be fired for refusing to be tested, losing jobless benefits in that case as well.
Sen. Dean Cameron defended the legislation as part of the move toward eliminating alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace, especially where it poses a safety threat.
Critics charged that the bill failed to establish strict enough guidelines, did not permit employee response to accusations and did not set up reliable testing centers.
“This bill still has warts,” said Republican Sen. Hal Bunderson of Meridian, who is pushing rival legislation backed by the operator of a company that provides drug and alcohol testing.
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