Letter to the Editor

Drug testing for unemployment insurance

Sunday, September 11, 2016

To the editor:

In the 2016 legislative session, I authored a bill that would have created drug-testing requirements for certain individuals seeking unemployment insurance.

Since the bill did not pass out of committee, I wanted to take a more in-depth look into the requirements to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent appropriately.

I recently had the chance to meet with the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), the state agency that oversees unemployment insurance, to learn more about this topic. During the meeting, I discovered there is language already in statute that outlines a policy for DWD regarding drug testing for unemployment benefits.

Under the policy, if a person is discharged from employment by the most recent employer due to the unlawful use of a controlled substance, that person would be deemed ineligible to receive unemployment insurance benefits because the individual would have been fired for “just cause.”

Additionally per U.S. Department of Labor rule, if a person for whom suitable work is only available in an occupation that regularly conducts drug testing and the person refuses a drug test, the person would be ineligible as it would be deemed a “work refusal” by DWD.

Upon learning this information, I feel confident that the current statute and policy in place that DWD follows is in the best interest of Hoosier taxpayers.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about this or other topics, please feel free to contact my office by email at Senator.Ford@iga.in.gov or by phone at 800-382-9467.

Jon Ford (R-Terre Haute) - State Senator, District 38