A Key West lawyer is suing the city in federal court over its 14-year-old policy requiring all job applicants to take a drug test.
Karen Cabanas Voss says the city violated her Fourth Amendment rights for rescinding its offer to make her recycling coordinator over her refusal to submit a urine sample.
"I thought I had found the perfect opportunity to help this city which I love," Voss said in a prepared statement. "But in order to do so, they were asking me to submit to something that I knew was illegal and wrong."
Voss was offered the job in late January, and the city had checked her references by Feb. 5. That's when human resources staff handed her the city's drug testing policy and she balked, the suit says.
Voss said she went to the City Attorney's Office to "voice her concern that the city's policy is unconstitutional," but couldn't persuade the city to change it.
The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Florida is representing her in the suit, filed Tuesday at U.S. District Court. Voss cites Florida law that she believes confines drug testing to jobs deemed "special-risk," such as those for firefighters and police officers.
The recycling coordinator job involves making presentations to schoolchildren and possibly helping out at the transfer station, where there is heavy machinery, the city reportedly told her.
Voss, an attorney in good standing with the Florida bar, says in the suit that she is self-employed as a tour company operator and website designer, but is otherwise "unemployed."
Will Thompson is the city's recycling coordinator.
Voss demands the job or a similar one, with back pay, benefits and damages for "violation of [her] constitutional rights."
Since 1999, the city has required all job applicants to undergo drug testing.
The city had no reasonable suspicion to ask her to take the drug test, Voss said.
"The job posting contains no notice that drug testing is required for applicants," the suit says.