The Rhode Island Supreme Court has held that a three-year statute of limitations applies to claims alleging violations of the employer drug testing statute in that state. Goddard v. APG Sec.-RI, LLC, No. 2014-239-Appeal (R.I. Mar. 7, 2016).
Rhode Island’s employer drug testing statute provides employees with a right to be free from drug tests that are not administered in accordance with the process set forth in the statute. R.I. Gen. Laws §§ 28-6.5-1 to 28-6.5-2. The law sets out several conditions under which an employer may subject an employee to drug testing. It also provides that violations of the statute can lead to a misdemeanor conviction of the employer as well as an award of punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, costs and injunctive relief in favor of an employee in a civil action against an employer. However, the law does not set forth a statute of limitations.
Rejecting the Plaintiff’s arguments that a ten-year statute of limitations should apply for violations of the drug testing law, the Court held that the three-year statute of limitations applicable to “injuries to the person” applies. The Court explained that violations of the drug testing law are analogous to an invasion of privacy and should be subject to the shorter limitations period that applies to other employment-related claims.