Ald. Ed Burke (14th Ward)
Illinois' chapter of the ACLU is taking issue with legislation proposed by two of Chicago's most powerful aldermen.
Alds. Ed Burke (14th) and Patrick O'Connor (40th) earlier this month proposed random drug tests for city workers and elected officials to reduce "errors in judgment" and the number of worker's comp cases.
Mary Dixon, legislative director of the ACLU of Illinois, said the drug testing invades city workers' privacy rights.
“Drug testing in the absence of individualized suspicion is stigmatizing,” Dixon wrote in a letter sent last week to members of the Workforce, Development and Audit Committee. “It creates a presumption of guilt that can only be rebutted by a negative test result.”
Burke and O'Connor, however, see the testing as a way of protecting citizens.
O'Connor cited an incident last month that sparked the idea for the testing: a Department of Streets and Sanitation worker was charged with driving under the influence after crashing a city vehicle into a group of people on a Gold Coast sidewalk.
But Dixon said the testing is unnecessary to protect the security of residents.
Currently, only police officers, firefighters and drivers with commercial drivers licenses are subject to random drug and alcohol testing.