Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives' Association

In Skinner v. Railway Labor Executives' Association (1989), the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a drug-testing program for railroad employees in positions that had an impact on safety. Pursuant to Skinner, along with its companion case, National Treasury Employees Union v. Von Raab (1989), public employers may, under some circumstances, be able to require their employees to submit to suspicionless drug and alcohol testing. Although Skinner was not set in an educational context, it raises interesting questions about testing of school employees.

Facts of the Case

During the 1980s, the United States began fighting the “war on drugs.” Consequently, all governmental agencies were charged with developing better safety standards and implementing new regulations to help in this battle in the workplace. In this context, the ...

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