Sunday, July 28, 2013

Random drug and alcohol testing leads to harder stuff

This is an article in the NY Times.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/07/us/in-secret-court-vastly-broadens-powers-of-nsa.html

NY Times: In one of the court’s most important decisions, the judges have expanded the use in terrorism cases of a legal principle known as the “special needs” doctrine and carved out an exception to the Fourth Amendment’s requirement of a warrant for searches and seizures, the officials said.

The special needs doctrine was originally established in 1989 by the Supreme Court in a ruling allowing the drug testing of railway workers, finding that a minimal intrusion on privacy was justified by the government’s need to combat an overriding public danger. Applying that concept more broadly, the FISA judges have ruled that the N.S.A.’s collection and examination of Americans’ communications data to track possible terrorists does not run afoul of the Fourth Amendment, the officials said.
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Here is a link to the Wikipedia article on the 1989 court case involving the testing of the railway workers because of "overriding public danger" that eventually became the shit storm leaked by Edward Snowden:

Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives Association, 489 U.S. 602 (1989), was the U.S. Supreme Court case that paved the way for random drug testing of public employees in "safety sensitive" positions.

[T]he Government interest in testing without a showing of individualized suspicion is compelling. Employees subject to the tests discharge duties fraught with such risks of injury to others that even a momentary lapse of attention can have disastrous consequences based on the interest of the general public […] While no procedure can identify all impaired employees with ease and perfect accuracy, the FRA regulations supply an effective means of deterring employees engaged in safety-sensitive tasks from using controlled substances or alcohol in the first place.
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You might note that in the current court cases involving Teck, Suncor and Irving currently before the courts in Canada those companies are using the expression "enhanced safety risk in the workplace"

you will see it used here:
http://m.fasken.com/how-far-reaching-will-the-irving-pulp-&-paper-decision-be/

1 comment:

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