Seventh Circuit Review


In Krieg v. Seybold, Robert Krieg challenged the City of Marion, Indiana’s, policy of random drug testing as it applied to his job as a heavy-equipment operator in the Department of Streets and Sanitation. While the Fourth Amendment normally would require the City to have a reasonable suspicion that Krieg used drugs before it could require him to submit to a drug test, the Supreme Court has created a “safety” exception to this rule. This exception permits government employers to test certain safety-sensitive employees for drugs without suspicion where a characteristic of the workplace makes suspicion-based testing impractical. The Seventh Circuit held that the safety-sensitive nature of Krieg’s job fit within this exception and therefore affirmed summary judgment in favor of the city. Because the Seventh Circuit failed to identify any circumstance that would make suspicion-based testing impractical, this Note will argue that the court improperly created a bright-line rule that all safety-sensitive workers can be subject to suspicionless drug tests. Further, this Note will argue that the Seventh Circuit failed to create a principled distinction between the safety concerns raised by Krieg’s job and those raised by other blue-collar positions. As a result, the court’s bright line will have a far-reaching effect, depriving many blue-collar workers of the normal protection of the Fourth Amendment.

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