Luedtke v Nabors

Luedtke v Nabors - Luedtke v Nabors Alaska Drilling...

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Luedtke v. Nabors Alaska Drilling, Inc. (1989) Superior Court of Alaska Abridged 11/05 (Kenneth Ferguson) This case addresses one aspect of drug testing by employers. A private employer, Nabors Alaska Drilling, Inc. (Nabors), established a drug testing program for its employees. Two Nabors employees, Clarence Luedtke and Paul Luedtke, both of whom worked on drilling rigs on the North Slope, refused to submit to urinalysis screening for drug use as required by Nabors. As a result they were fired by Nabors. The Luedtkes challenge their firing on the following grounds: 1. Nabors’ drug testing program violates the Luedtke’s right to privacy guaranteed by article I, section 22 of the Alaska constitution; 2. Nabors demands violate the covenant of good faith and fair dealing implicit in all employment contracts; 3. Nabors’ urinalysis requirement violates the public interest in personal privacy, giving the Luedtke’s a cause of action for wrongful discharge; and 4. Nabors’ actions give rise to a cause of action under the common law tort of invasion of privacy. Nabors argues that the Luedtkes were “at will” employees whose employment relationship could be terminated at any time for any reason. Alternatively, even if termination had to be based on “just cause,” such cause existed because the Luedtkes violated established company policy relating to employee safety by refusing to take the scheduled tests. This case raises issues of first impression in Alaska law including: whether the constitutional right to privacy applies to private parties; some parameters of the tort of wrongful discharge; and the extent to which certain employee drug testing by private employers can be controlled by state courts. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND Paul’s Case Factual Background. Paul began working for Nabors, which operates drilling rigs on Alaska’s North Slope, in February 1978. He began as a temporary employee, replacing a permanent employee on vacation for two weeks. During his two weeks of temporary work, a permanent position opened up on the rig on which he was working and he was hired to fill it. Paul began as a “floorman” and was eventually promoted to “driller.” A driller oversees the work of the entire drilling crew. Paul started work with Nabors as a union member, initially being hired from the
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Luedtke v Nabors - Luedtke v Nabors Alaska Drilling...

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