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May 13, 2014

Federal judge rules Key West’s drug testing policy unconstitutional

The City of Key West’s policy that requires job applicants for city positions to be drug tested has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in Miami.

The City of Key West’s policy that requires job applicants for city positions to be drug tested has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in Miami.

The American Civil Liberties Union, on behalf of Key West resident Karen Cabanas Voss, sued May challenging the policy as a violation of the Constitution’s protections against unreasonable government searches. In the suit, Voss stated that the city revoked a job offer for the position of recycling coordinator after she refused to submit to a “suspicionless” search of her bodily fluids (to provide a urine sample).

On Friday, U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King rejected the city’s argument that it could categorically drug test all job applicants, despite not being allowed to drug test all employees. The city had argued that the law does not allow the government to violate a person’s rights under the Fourth Amendment so long as prior notice of the impending violation is given.

The judge ruled that the city failed to demonstrate a special need or important governmental interest that justified the Fourth Amendment intrusion.

CAMMY CLARK

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