Gary Bruce discusses questions from our local viewers here in Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama about current events and legal issues. One viewer wants to know if schools are allowed to perform mandatory drug tests on students. When it comes to public schools, mandatory drug testing will be permitted when there is a rational basis for doing so. Schools are responsible for student safety, so if drug testing is necessary to ensure that the school is a safe environment, mandatory drug testing is not likely going to be found to be a Fourth Amendment violation or an unreasonable search. The majority of public school drug testing is limited to those students participating in extracurricular activities and the testing is done in order to make sure students participating in sports and other after-hours programs are doing so without harming themselves or others.
Another viewer asks what to do if you get hurt at work and your employer will not help pay your medical bills. Gary explains that in Georgia if an employer has more than three employees, they are required to have worker’s compensation insurance coverage. The employer should have a sign posted regarding where to seek medical care if you are hurt on the job, and the employer should pay you for medical bills, as well as time lost from work. You have to tell your employer if you are hurt on the job and seek medical care, but if your employer still refuses to help you after you have reported the incident, then you should seek the advice of a lawyer.
We have been proudly serving Columbus, Ft. Benning, LaGrange, Salem, Phenix City, Opelika, Eufaula, and Auburn for 25 years. If you have any questions about worker’s compensation or injuries, please call The Law Office of Gary Bruce at 706-596-1446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting and free, confidential consultation.
Narrator: This is Legal Break on WTVM with attorney, Gary Bruce answering your questions about the law.
Maureen: Hello there. Well Gary we have a couple of very appropriate questions today and we’ll get right to them. The first one is a Facebook question for you from Jackie, and she asks: Is it legal for a school to require mandatory drug testing of its students, or is that a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights?
Gary: All right so this has come up, and it comes up in another context that I think is important on this the gun issue, you know with the shootings recently. So what is the duty of the school, and what are the rights of a school in connection with the children. And the duty is, we take our children to school they become in loco parentis. They become now responsible as guardian for teaching- not only teaching but for safety. And that’s the underlying issue here. I’m not sure how that’s going to play out with the with the recent gun shootings, and the school shootings, but it is an issue. But you extend that to drug testing, and the Supreme Court of the United States has addressed this issue, and said in public schools, yes it is allowed when there is a rational basis. So you have to articulate a basis, a reason. Sometimes they’ll say “well we don’t we want to,” and it’s mostly done generally with athletic teams, or extracurricular activities, because they see those kids sometimes as leaders. It’s actually been discussed by the Supreme Court and those are the justifications. These are the leaders, we want to make sure they are acting appropriately, not involved in the drug business. So are they test them not only for the leadership qualities of those people but also to make sure there aren’t injuries. So those are the rational bases that have been used and then upheld, and the Supreme Court said: yes it is allowed. If there’s a rational basis that we do want our children safe, and you have a reason to be there and do that. So a private school situation I would think there it’s a whole lot less controversial. You can make a decision to be there or not.
Maureen: Yes you can. So we have another question a video question from a young lady in Columbus. Let’s roll that, and see if we can answer it.
Viewer Question: So what do I do if I’m hurt at my job, and my employer doesn’t want to help me pay for my medical bills?
Gary: Happens a lot, here’s the deal, in Georgia anyway. If employer has three or more employees, they must have workers comp insurance. They should have a posted sign for medical care. Do insist that they pay, if they have the coverage then there should be a sign saying where you can go report the incident, and then follow up. You know, they owe you 2 things in Georgia they owe you a medical, and they owe you time lost- two-thirds of your average weekly wage up to certain limits. So you got to speak up for yourself, and if they don’t, then that’s when you call a lawyer generally. So good questions, Thank You Maureen.
Maureen: Yeah absolutely, keep them coming. We’ll see you on the very next, Legal Break.